Evanston Police Chief Richard Eddington says officers will step up stop-and-frisk activities in response to a recent wave of shooting incidents.

“One of the things I’ve worked very hard at is avoiding widespread use of stop-and-frisk,” Eddington told about 120 people gathered at a 5th Ward meeting Thursday night.

“But I can’t do that no more,” the chief said. “Sorry, this level of violence and use of guns is out of control.”

Recent shooting incidents have included mid-afternoon exchanges of gunfire outside the Fleetwood-Jourdain Community Center where the Thursday night meeting was held.

Widespread use of stop and frisk in New York and other cities has led to angry complaints of racial profiling from many minority residents, but it drew no complaints from residents at the 5th Ward meeting.

Eddington said the new policy in Evanston won’t mean that “every 15- to 50-year-old African American male will get patted down.”

Instead, he said, the policy will target people who are among the individuals police have identified as being involved in the families or gangs or other groups involved in recent violence.

“The only way the police department can directly impact this problem is to make it hazardous for you to carry your already illegal gun,” Eddington said.

He noted that Thursday morning police had raided a home on Church Street and arrested a convicted felon who, police said, was in possession of a .380 semi-automatic handgun.

Eddington said the department would also launch its expanded summer patrol plan within the next couple of days — for an earlier start than usual and that he’s asking Cook County Sherif Tom Dart for additional assistance from his gang unit.

Residents at the meeting criticized everything from an influx of out-of-town residents into low income housing developments to a lack of parenting skills and a shortage of jobs as factors contributing to the violence.

Some speakers said relatives were refusing to come visit them because of the violence or that they were considering moving away.

Alderman Delores Holmes, 5th Ward, said she was looking for “three concrete things we can do” to respond to the problem.

Residents suggested expanded mentoring programs for young people, creation of more jobs for unemployed youths and increased efforts to encourage people to break the “no snitch” code and share information about crimes with police.

Top: Police Chief Richard Eddington, with Alderman Holmes and anti-gun-violence activist Carolyn Murray in the background.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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  1. Stop & Frisk is a good idea, but Eddington must go

    Council needs to ask Eddington why stop and frisk hasn't been official policy for years as many empirical studies have shown that it is effective at reducing crime.

    There are many studies of criminal justice effectiveness that the EPD doesn't appear to be aware of.

    EPD's ineffectiveness over the years can be attributed to poor leadership and lack of a vision.  We need someone who looks at empirical studies and develops a systematic approach towards dealing with the problem.

    Eddington seems to be more like an Andy Griffith-type who just kind of rolls with whatever is happening at the time.  We need someone with a more strategic mind.  We're not dealing with Otis the drunk, but violent criminal enterprises.

    1. Don’t blame the chief on stop-and-frisk

      Where were your Monday Morning Quarterback skills until now? Do any of you remember the outrage when a black kid was stopped by the police for a burglary investigation? The department is still in Federal Court with that one.

      You can't have it both ways. Either the police department takes a pro-active approach and does as Chief Eddington suggests, or it sits back and is reactive. Either way, there will be critics. 

      You suggest the Chief should go due to his "poor leadership". Are you going to be there when the department gets sued for their stop and frisk, get tough attitude?

      What will be your reaction when your taxes go up due to some liberal jury awarding a huge settlement in a lawsuit? 

      Evanston needs to decide which way they want it. It is easy to criticize the Chief. But with the litigation hungry people looking for their cut, the Chief must walk the very fine line thanks to the mentality of residents of Evanston. 


  2. Police to expand stop-and-frisk in response to shootings

    Yay!!!  Very encouraging!!! 

  3. Thanks, Chief Eddington

    About time!!!!! Let the police go out and do their jobs.  Take the handcuffs off the police and let them go out and show these thugs that this garbage is no longer welcome in Evanston. 

    Thanks Chief Eddington and the rest of EPD!  I fully support this.

  4. Just a band aid when major surgery is needed

    From the article:

    "Instead, he [the police chief] said, the policy will target people who are among the individuals police have identified as being involved in the families or gangs or other groups involved in recent violence."

    Stop and frisk them.  That will help a little for now.  But it's a band aid.  We can't frisk each of these idiots every time that he or she leaves home.

    To make a real difference, we need major surgery.  Evanston police and city officials, call the U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois now, share information and get his office going on a RICO complaint.  We cannot go through another summer of this family-spun violence.  These "individuals" and their conspirators need to face federal charges by the end of June or we will be looking at a long, bloody summer.

    Until these "individuals" in the families or gangs who are "involved in recent violence" start going to prison, losing their cars and losing their houses, they will continue their blood feud and care for no one else.  And all of us suffer when our children and other loved ones are subjected to danger because of them and when we as taxapayers pay for more and more police time to keep close tabs on a few no good idiots who choose to shoot at people rather than resolve their differences peacefully.

    Being an "activist" isn't enough and speaking out publicly against violence isn't enough.  We need everyone, includiing the U.S. Attorney, to say that enough of this blood-letting garbage is enough and mean it.  I'm calling the U.S. Attorney's Office to see if I can get them interested in Evanston's ongoing RICO enterprise.

  5. Justice system must take gun crimes seriously

    This is encouraging as long as it does not over-reach.  We can not become a police state.  I think that one big thing that seems to be missing, is the justice system and how gun crimes are treated there. 

    I would advocate that we need prosecutors and our courts to take gun crime and violence seriously and not dissmiss/plead down gun crimes.  As it is now, getting caught with an illegal gun does not seem to be taken that seriously by our courts. 

    I don't know the answer, but I would be interested in any statistics on repeat gun crime offenders in Evanston.  Essentially how many people are arrested with an illegal gun, then cycled back onto the street, and then involved in a shooting and arrested again?

    1. Agreed!  But lets start with

      Agreed!  But lets start with the pat downs.  First things first!

    2. I can think of at least one

      I can think of at least one case of "cycling back onto the street"…the young man that killed 14-yr-old Dajae Coleman last fall had been arrested on a guns charge (which was dismissed) earlier in the year, then was shot in the stomach over the summer by someone else, and then in the fall killed an innocent boy. All of that happened in the span of a year. How on earth did he get out of the original weapons charge? And if they'd been able to prosecute him for the original charge, Dajae Coleman would be alive today.

      1. Unbelievable

        That is terrible.  I'm surprised there has not been more (any) reaction from our local elected officials about this.  This sounds like it was totally preventable, and 100% the fault of our justice system for not taking gun crime seriously. 

  6. People don’t understand stop and frisk

    "Stop and frisk" doesn't mean the police can stop anyone they want and pat them down for guns. They have to have reasonable suspicion that a person has committed or is about to commit a crime to make the initial stop. In order to do a pat down, they have to have further reasonable suspicion that the suspect is armed. These have been the rules since 1968 (Terry v. Ohio).

    Stop and frisk is not some brilliant tactic invented in NYC in the 1990s. Gun crime has dropped precipitously in New York, for reasons that aren't clear. Probably aggressive gun laws and aggressive police tactics had something to do with it, but they weren't the only cause.

    What you don't hear about stop and frisk is that in many cases, the stop is ruled illegal, because being young and black does not equate to reasonable suspicion. Many of the guns that are seized in these stops are not admissible as evidence, and the charge has to be dismissed.

    Of course, most of those stopped will be innocent of any wrongdoing. And almost all of them will be young, male, and black. If you're not troubled by those facts, you're not thinking hard enough.

    If the police systematically target young black males with no other evidence supporting reasonable suspicion, the City is going to be the target of a massive civil rights lawsuit. And rightfully so.

    Finally, this is stupid for pragmatic reasons. The police haven't solved these murders because witnesses aren't willing to cooperate with them, because many (most?) young black males don't trust the police. So the solution is to hassle and humiliate more black males?

    1. We have to stop the violence. and stop being overly sensitive!

      Anonymous did you even read this article?? The chief said they are targeting people known to the police as being part of a gang or tied to the recent violence. So if you're a black male (or Hispanic or white or female)with known gang ties then yes you are subject to being stopped for no other reason then just walking down the street. To address your whole Terry v Ohio point there is always reasonable suspicion a gangbbanger or associate is going to commit a crime (Ive never heard of any law abiding gangbangers. Last time I checked that's what they do commit crimes ie: sell drugs murder etc) and there's always reasonable suspicion to assume they may be armed. Using guns are how they instill fear, commit crimes, fight for territory, get revenge again rival gang members etc.  Anyway besides that in my opinion even if having some innocent people stopped and frisked is the cost of saving even one innocent bystander from being shot that is well worth the price. 

      And since you say cooperation isn't the problem does that mean you believe the friends, families, and associates of those involved in the recent violence are calling the police with information to turn them in and the police are just ignoring them?  

      I'm sure all of us have the same goal we want the families and especially children of Evanston to be safe but the reality is something drastic has to be done in order to fight back against the small few causing the violence   in Evanston so all of the rest of us can be safe. 

      Also you've commented negatively towards everything in this article and even called it stupid but you have not offered any suggestions on solutions. The terrible reality is that the majority of gangbangers are minorities so what is your solution to solve the violence problem we have here in Evanston??

      (And before you say I don't understand what it's like to be a minority I am black myself) 

      1. It’s not “overly sensitive” to want equal treatment by police

        There is a reason why cities including (but not only) NYC have major grassroots movements against Stop+Frisk procedures.  We all know which people are being stopped at random.  

        Why didn't anyone stop + frisk gun-toting George Zimmerman when he was persueing an unarmed Trayvon Martin?  

        Why is it okay with "safety-minded,"  "concerned" citizens" when police spray 40 rounds into a building because unarmed Amadou Diallo "LOOKED" like he was armed?  

        Can you give ONE good reason why unarmed Oscar Grant in California was killed by BART police, in full view of hundreds of train passengers, and no one went to jail for that?  

        How about the Florida guy currently on trial for shooting into a Jeep of Black teens, all unarmed, because they were blasting their music and it offended him?  When youth do that, does it make YOU pull out a gun?  

        Or does it make you question how they've been raised and wonder what can be done to make our sons better citizens?  Because that's what I think and feel:  including these boys that have entered gangs in order to feel safe themselves, in order to have a place to make some cash, in order to feel like they are SOMEBODY.  Will getting stopped + frisked teach these kids that their lives are PRECIOUS, as are the lives they threaten and steal?  No!  The community has to do that.  And the police are not trying to make youth better citizens!  They are trying to protect CERTAIN neighborhoods and CERTAIN business interests.  And law enforcement's racial profiling does more harm than good in our communities.  Every time an innocent youth is racially targeted as "suspicious," she/he becomes one more person who knows the system still thinks he's only worth 2/3rds.  She becomes another person who will not trust police to do the right thing when called, so they WON'T call anymore.  And worst of all, racial profiling has created a country full of George Zimmermans and Bernard Goetz's, in every state.  And they murder our sons with impunity.  

        The deaths of regular kids like Oscar Grant and Trayvon Martin are NOT some price to pay for everybody else's safety.  THEY are innocent bystanders.  And in America, you are supposed to be innocent until proved guilty.  Skin color, stupid fashion choices, and unearned swagger should NOT be punishable by police harrassment — let alone executions.  STOP encouraging the world to put bullseyes on the backs of Youth of Color.  START working to reeducate our youth and reintegrate them as valuable members of the society.

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