Where and When is my Beat Meeting?
Each Chicago police district is divided into three sectors. Each sector is further divided into three to five beats. A team of beat officers patrols your beat on a 24-hour-a-day basis. Teams of rapid response officers patrol by sector and handle many of the emergency calls in that sector.
Each beat is numbered. The first two digits identify your district; the next digit is the sector number; and the last digit is the beat number.
For example, Beat 2013 is the 20th District, 1st sector, 3rd beat. Your beat patrol car has its beat number displayed above the blue lights on its roof.
Please look at the map below and see what Beat you live in. Then select the appropriate link to view the Event Calendar. If you don’t see any meetings for the current month displayed you can go to the next months calendar and see your next scheduled Beat Meeting.
Download: the 40th Ward Beat Meeting Map (430KB)
Getting the most out of your Beat Meeting Beginning in 1993, the Chicago Police Department has been committed to implementing a comprehensive community policing strategy – CAPS – that is designed to make residents an active partner in preventing and reducing crime in all of Chicago’s neighborhoods. That strategy recognizes that police, residents and other neighborhood stakeholders, and other City agencies have to work together to address all the conditions that can lead to crime. No one stands alone; each of us has a role to play in improving the quality of life in our communities.
• WHAT ARE BEAT MEETINGS?
Beat community meetings are regular meetings held on all 279 police beats in Chicago. Every beat is required to meet at least quarterly, although the vast majority of beats meet every month or every other month. (Beat meeting schedules are published on the this website under EVENTS, or are available by calling the City of Chicago Information Hotline at 3-1-1.)
The primary purpose of the beat community meeting is to allow beat residents, other community stakeholders and police to discuss chronic problems on the beat and to engage in problem solving using the CAPS five-step problem-solving process. Beat community meetings provide an opportunity for police and community residents to exchange information about conditions in the neighborhood, to identify crime and disorder problems, and to develop strategies to combat those problems. The meeting also provides an opportunity for police and community to get to know one another.
• WHO CONDUCTS THESE MEETINGS?
Beat community meetings are hosted by the Chicago Police Department and are usually conducted in one of three ways:
- By a team consisting of a resident beat facilitator (a designated community leader) and a beat officer.
- By one or more beat facilitators.
- By one or more beat officers.
Option 1 is usually considered ideal.
Beat meetings and problem solving are most effective when they include a broad range of community stakeholders: residents, business owners, and representatives from local schools, churches and neighborhood organizations. In addition, beat officers representing all three watches, plus a sergeant, are expected to attend beat community meetings. Neighborhood Relations personnel, tactical and gang tactical officers, detectives, and other Police Department members may attend beat community meetings, as appropriate.
• ALWAYS HAVE A BEAT MEETING AGENDA
Every beat community meeting should follow an agenda. And, at a minimum, every meeting agenda should cover the following items:
Welcome and introduction of participants.
Feedback on progress made on problems since the last meeting.
Discuss whether the current problem-solving strategies seem to be working, whether they need to be modified, or whether the problem seems to have been sufficiently reduced or eliminated to justify moving on to new problems.
Discussion of current crime conditions and new problems.
Beat team officers present information about general crime conditions on the beat. New problems (which are chronic in nature) are identified.Participants determine whether any newly identified problem is significant enough to be added to the Beat Plan. The Beat Plan is a form used by the beat team to keep track of problem-solving activities on the beat. Generally, the beat team and community will be limited in the number of problems they can work on at any one time. Therefore, the group needs to prioritize which problems will be worked on.
Development of strategies and coordination of responsibilities.
Because there will not be sufficient time at the meeting to analyze each strategy in detail, it is important that a community contact person be identified. This person will take responsibility for working with the beat team and other interested residents to analyze the problem in more detail, develop strategies, and organize and coordinate the community’s involvement.
Next meeting date.
Announce the date, time and place for the next beat community meeting. Schedule working groups for ongoing problem solving. Most of the work on problem-solving strategies will take place outside the beat community meeting. Therefore, residents and police must be prepared to work on these chronic problems in between beat meetings.
• MAKING THE MEETING CONDUCIVE TO PROBLEM SOLVING
The primary reason for holding beat community meetings is for beat officers and the community to engage in joint problem solving. Therefore, it is critical that the meeting room be conducive to these activities.
Here are some guidelines to consider as you work with beat team members to establish a good meeting environment:
- Whenever possible, the meeting should be held in a location on the beat, with convenient parking nearby. The location should be accessible to persons with disabilities.
- Some beats have found that holding their meetings in the same location, on the same day each month (for example, the second Tuesday), can ensure a steady core of community participants. Other beats, however, have found that moving their meetings around helps attract new community members.
- The meeting place should be one that residents are comfortable coming to.
- The room should be large enough to comfortably accommodate all participants.
- Seating should be arranged to encourage discussion by all those present. Movable chairs, arranged in a horseshoe pattern, are ideal.
- Discussion of problems should include both residents and police.
- A flip chart, chalkboard or other mechanism for recording the group’s problem identification or analysis should be available.