The C.P.D. are More than Police Officers they are System Revolutionists

Photograph by Ana Barajas: From the right: Officer, Officer Jimenez, Commander Acevez, Officer Álvarez, Officer, and Officer Coleman.

There’s a system that desecrates.

There’s a system to which the childish are slaves.

These tumult customs are killing freedom; it’s a philosophy for the dead.

We are not blaming anyone; we are all trying to break free.

We are not each other’s enemies, although the system works hard to make it so.

But, there is a way out.

Yes, there is a choice to be made.

Choose life to break free from the broken system.

Many turn the blind eye and they see them less than worthy, but some have taken notice:

Photograph by Ana Barajas: Chaplain Ismael Vargas sharing an encouraging word and prayer over the players.

On May 10th 2018, the Health and Safety Committee from the Cicero Community made up of heart filled people such as Commander Vincent Acevez (head of the Gang Crimes Tactical Unit), Dr. Ross Pesce (a psychologist and creator of the GAIN model used in the Morton Freshman Center to give at risk youth an opportunity to succeed), Dr. Meghan Meyer (a school psychologist and implementer of the GAIN model), community Chaplain Ismael Vargas (read on his initiative to unity the community and the police), and many others including school teachers and principals came in unity to develop the Playing for Peace Basketball Tournament. This event was geared towards at risk youth who battled a ball game and the Cicero Police Department who acted as referees in hopes to break stigmas and instead ignite community solidarity.

Officer Miguel Jiménez shared with an enthusiast heart, “It benefits both the police officer and the community to build trust. These are the kids you see on the streets and events like these help to bridge trust with the community and the police.” I saw him from afar enjoy refereeing a ball game with young men trying to score a hoop, his smile covered his face from ear-to-ear and it seemed to invite the youngsters to further interactions. He later shared that as a police officer he would like to be more involved in community events and wishes there was a special force within the police department geared towards engaging at risk youth in a particular manner to help prevent crime.

Photograph by Ana Barajas: Commader Acevez explaining the rules to the players.

Moreover, Jamarie Coleman Gang Tact Unit Officer shared with an ardent heart, “Police and the community need to build a better relationship starting with the kids. The police get a bad rap and people need to understand we are people just like everyone else. And if they see us outside of the uniform they can understand we are just like them.” He later engaged a group of young men to share with them the reality of an officer’s duty and the lies the media many times portraits. The young men seemed enlightened by a new perspective.

Lastly, Jaime Álvarez another Gang Tact Unit Officer shared his warm heart, “As a young kid I always wanted to interact with the police, so when the email came in asking for volunteers I took the initiative and volunteered. I wanted to be a part of this tournament, [as policemen] we need interactions with the community because it starts with them; and they need to know we are more than police officers.”

Altruistic officers chose to be present, not only to referee a basketball tournament, but to also ignite interesting conversation that has the potential to develop into something more…

Photograph by Ana Barajas: Officer Coleman sharing personal experiences as an officer and a father with at risk youth.

…for freedom from a broken system…

They remove the fear.

They are not obligated to a system that does not work.

They are system revolutionists.

They break bondage and promote unity.

Their presence is promoting, “Hey! Get out of the glass boxes lies have placed you in, we are not the enemy!”

Truly, we are not each other’s enemies, although the system works hard to make it so.

But, you can break free.

Yes, there is a choice to be made. Choose life to get out from among the dead.

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