It takes more than good police work to make our neighborhoods safer. It takes police, the community and City agencies working together to really make a difference. The CAPS partnership does not stop when the police make an arrest. To have a long-term impact on the safety of our neighborhoods, the community needs to let the offenders know that we care even after an arrest is made.
The Court Advocacy program is an integral part of CAPS. Each of the 25 police districts has a Court Advocacy Subcommittee. With input gathered at beat meetings or from other members of the community, the Court Advocacy Subcommittees, working with the Police Department, identify and track cases of interest to the community. Cases can range from violent crimes, such as murder or rape, to “quality of life” cases, such as drug dealing and public drinking, abandoned buildings and negligent landlords, and problem liquor establishments. Volunteers then attend court dates associated with those cases.
Court Advocacy Subcommittees play an important role in advancing the goals of making our neighborhoods safer. First, volunteers provide support for victims and witnesses who may be hesitant to testify in court. The presence of Court Advocacy volunteers from their community can make the difference in whether a victim or witness decides to appear in court.
Second, the presence of Court Advocacy volunteers sends a strong message to the defendant, the judge and all other interested parties in the criminal justice system: the community cares about the outcome of these cases and is willing to devote its time and energies to monitoring the workings of the judicial system.
Work with other community volunteers tracking court cases and attending judicial hearings. Court advocacy is a way to show support for victims and solidarity against crime in your community.
For information about Court Advocacy, call 312-747-9973 or contact the 19th District CAPS Office at 312-744-0064.