McCarthy may turn to celebrities to remove snitching stigma

Clout Street

Gun violence on Chicago streets has become such a concern that Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy said today he's considering turning to celebrity mouthpieces like Bulls star Derrick Rose to try to convince residents to break the "no-snitch" code of silence that often impedes investigations into shootings in Chicago neighborhoods.

McCarthy said he has "spoken to a number of (celebrities) and they're all very interested" in becoming spokespeople for a campaign to convince Chicagoans to cooperate with police. He would not give specific names, but did say Rose, who grew up in crime-plagued Englewood before achieving NBA fame, is the type of star who might be able to get through to young Chicagoans.

Coming off a year in which Chicago saw homicides jump 16 percent to 506, McCarthy said he's trying to figure out how to get through to people.

"Who is it that these kids would listen to? It's not going to be Garry McCarthy. Maybe it will be Derrick Rose, I don't know," McCarthy said. "This is all under examination. It's something that we're looking to develop. It's not off the ground yet."

McCarthy acknowledged today that part of residents' reluctance cooperate with the police can be traced to mistrust stemming from incidents like the infamous cases of torture by former Commander Jon Burge. But McCarthy said many of the high-profile police abuses cases for the department happened before he got here, and said he's working to improve accountability so people have greater trust in the police.

"We have gotten black eyes recently based on incidents that happened long before we got here," he said. "Early in the 90s, you name the scandal, they're all coming to fruition now. The fact is, I can't fix that. I can't go back and change what happened with Jon Burge. But what I can do is focus on the behavior of our officers today."

The superintendent was on hand with Mayor Rahm Emanuel at the Grand Crossing police station to give an update on changes to the city's community policing program.

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