Chief wants NATO lessons to translate to street corner policing

May 23, 2012

Download Story
(WBEZ/Robert Wildeboer)
Chicago Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy and Mayor Rahm Emanuel

Chicago Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy says hosting NATO this past weekend is going to have some long-term benefits for his department.

McCarthy has talked a lot about how officers working the NATO protests started out wearing just their regular uniforms.

“If we just came out in the riot gear from day one, we would have had an entirely different dynamic going on in this city.  The confrontational appearance would have resulted in confrontation,” McCarthy said.

McCarthy said the officers saw this weekend that you can either escalate a situation or de-escalate it.

“It's not gonna be a big shift to get them to understand that instead of cursing at somebody and telling them to get off the corner, you explain to them, somebody just got shot down the block and maybe this isn't a good place to stand.  It's two totally different dynamics,” he said.

McCarthy said when officers treat people with respect, the police are viewed as legitimate and citizens become more concerned about not violating the law.