CHICAGO (CBS) — “We have your back” – that was the message Tuesday night from the West Lawn community on the Southwest Side to Chicago Police – as officers prepare to bury one of their own.
We hear so many stories about mistrust between residents and police. But as CBS 2’s Jermont Terry reported, there is a bond in West Lawn.READ MORE: Jussie Smollett Takes The Stand At His Disorderly Conduct Trial
Standing proudly, the men and women of the Chicago Lawn (8th) Police District prepared for another night on the streets Tuesday night.
“My neighbor’s right there – second from right – he lives across the street from me,” said Linda Montes.
Montes’ neighbor was among the officers who was out for a roll call as she watched in West Lawn – a community she has called home for 22 years.
“They’re more familiar with us than we are with them,” Montes said.
And yet, Montes worries daily about the cops living on her block and patrolling with the violence surge around Chicago.
“I can’t believe what’s happening every day, every day – multiple times a day,” she said.READ MORE: Supply Chain Issues: How Are Global Shortages Affecting Local Customers?
On this day, the West Lawn community let the officers know they have support.
The killing of Officer Ella French, at 63rd Street and Bell Avenue some distance to the east on the cusp of Chicago Lawn and West Englewood, continues to weigh heavy on those wearing the uniform.
“We’re proud to serve the people of Chicago, but in it comes a danger every time we go out in the street,” said Chicago Lawn District Cmdr. Fred Melean.
The relationship the West Lawn community has with officers at the 8th District is strong, and when the news came of Officer French’s passing – although she wasn’t assigned to the district – signs reading “we love you” that were mounted on the police station truly resonated with the community, because they know and care for their officers.
“This community – they really help us and support us in everything we do,” said Cmdr. Melean.
“Once we saw what happened to Officer French and her partner and what’s going on, we felt it was important to do the community event in her honor – and also to show the community that this is our response to backing up officers,” said Eddie Guillen of West Lawn Neighbor Watch.
Not only are they mingling and eating with officers, but the community keeps building a bond by offering thanks.MORE NEWS: Chicago Teachers Union Demanding Action After Over 100 People In Woodlawn In Quarantine
“You have a citizen come through and say, ‘I appreciate what you did for me,’ or, ‘I thank that you’re out here’ – that’s what gives the officers the motivation just to keep on doing it,” said Cmdr. Melean.