Police to Take Crash Course on Homeless Youth

May 24, 2006

Chicago police and Lakeview community groups have a plan to improve the relationship between officers and the neighborhood's young homeless population.

Police sergeants from Lakeview, Lincoln Park and North Center will be invited to special meetings to get a better understanding of the difficult circumstances facing homeless kids.

For example, Lakeview Action Coalition's Barbara Bolsen says many of the kids are gay and have been kicked out of their homes.

She says they come to Lakeview because they feel welcome in the community -- even though they often face problems with the police.

Bolsen says, "They're stopped and searched. Slurs are used to refer to them. Sometimes they're physically abused. Sometimes they're arrested without apparent cause. A frequent thing that they hear is, 'Get out of the neighborhood.'"

Police spokesperson Monique Bond wouldn't respond to Bolsen's allegations, but she did say she expects the trainings to eventually expand to other Chicago neighborhoods.