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Mayor Richard M. Daley today appointed 19-year Chicago Police Department veteran Ronald Holt as director of the Chicago Alternative Policing Strategy (CAPS) program and charged him with expanding the reach of the program, in which residents and the police department work together to reduce crime and violence and address other neighborhood issues.
“Today, CAPS remains the foundation of our philosophy that when police and the community work together, we can better protect our streets, our families and our children from the gang bangers and drug dealers and their gun violence,” Daley said in a City Hall news conference.
“But we are always looking forward for new ways to keep our neighborhoods safe and to keep our CAPS program vital,” he said.
Since 2007, Holt, 49, has been assigned to the CAPS Project Office and has traveled all across the city talking to Chicagoans about community outreach, gun control, youth violence, parental involvement and finding resources to help at-risk young people.
In 2007, Holt lost a child to gun violence when his son, Blair, 16, was killed by a gunman who opened fire inside a CTA bus.
“Ron brings to this new position a passion for keeping our city safe and exceptional skill in convincing residents of our city to get involved with helping us fight against gangs, guns and drugs,” Daley said.
The Mayor said he has told Holt that now more than ever, the City needs greater involvement by people from every neighborhood to protect children, report crimes, get more guns off the streets and end the drug dealing.
Daley said that means:
- Establishing new relationships and partnerships to expand the reach of the CAPS program.
- Organizing more block clubs.
- Getting more people to CAPS beat meetings and getting them involved in parent patrols and the Local School Councils.
- Convincing more neighborhood businesses to serve as 'safe havens', as students go to and from school and getting more parents involved in the City’s 'safe passage' program.
- Encouraging more parents to keep their children involved in positive and constructive activities, especially after school and in the summer.
- Convincing more residents to report criminals in their neighborhoods instead of protecting them through the “Code of Silence."
- Involving thousands more adults in mentoring a child.
“I have told Ron that CAPS must re-double its efforts to be an important catalyst in all these efforts, because the key to meeting the challenge of violence remains community involvement,” Daley said.
Holt has been deeply involved with the gun violence issue as co-founder and president of Purpose Over Pain, Inc., a community organization of parents who have suffered the loss of a child to gun violence.
He is also the founder and executive director of the Blair Holt Memorial Foundation and the Blair Holt Peace Alliance, which are community-based organizations that advocate for stricter gun laws and educate and raise the awareness of youth to the dangers of gun violence.
Daley said the CAPS program has helped the City forge a lasting partnership with the faith-based community, businesses, schools, neighborhood organizations and volunteers to address the cause of crime in Chicago’s neighborhoods.
“Ron’s job – and it is one he has done so well in the past – is to help us build bridges between the community and the police department,” the Mayor said.
“Especially because of violence against our kids, I believe there is no more important time than right now for the CAPS program to grow,” he said.
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