Ukrainian Village residents rallied at City Hall against the proposed closing of the local Wood Street police station Monday.
Anne Shaw, 41, is the organizer of the volunteer led Save the Wood Street Station movement and spoke at length at the rally on why the city should not close the station.
“We’re here to tell the mayor that we want to save the police station,” Shaw said. “Our studies show that this will not promote efficiency or save the people money, not just in our neighborhood but in all of the city of Chicago.”
The closing of the 13th District station, part of Mayor Emanuel’s proposed budget cuts, will decrease public safety as well, Shaw said.
Shaw hand-delivered a petition to one of Mayor Emanuel’s aides at the height of the rally amidst cheering, sign waving and chanting residents.
“We want the mayor to know that [closing the station] doesn’t make any sense,” Shaw said.
Retired police officer Julio Lucotti Jr. also spoke at the rally about the dangers of closing the station.
Lucotti, an officer for over 40 years, questioned the mayor’s incentive for deciding to close the station.
“How can the mayor compromise public safety because of a budget?” Lucotti asked. “I hope it doesn’t take a police officer’s life to get it through to the mayor.”
Lucotti also said the police force is woefully undermanned, even before the proposed station closing and budget cuts.
“In 40 years I’ve never seen it as low in manpower as it is now,” Lucotti said. “We cannot afford to close stations in times like these.”
The grassroots rally began outside City Hall where about 50 residents gathered on 121 N LaSalle St in downtown Chicago. They moved up to the 5th floor and rallied mere feet from Mayor Emanuel’s office.
“They’re trying to make it sound like they’re doing this for safety, but it’s not,” Lucotti said. “If they can live with themselves knowing that, then God bless them.”
Shaw brought 100 letters from Golder College Prep students and signatures from St. Helen’s Grammar School students in addition to the petition. The signatures were displayed on one of the signs.
“They want to put in speed cameras to keep children safe but they want to close police stations,” Shaw said. “Why?”
Mayor Emanuel’s budget was passed unanimously in November. The Ukrainian Village residents at the rally said the budget includes an open Wood Street police station.