The police officers and community members who attended a Second police district CAPS meeting last night had plenty to talk about: prostitution activity, heroin dealing, loud parties at all hours of the night, and last week's election of "Pat" as Third Ward alderman.
"The funny thing is seeing the new alderman, Pat, absorbing some of this," one of the police officers said during a discussion about organizing area business owners around crime prevention. "I think she will be more accessible than her predecessor."
They spoke of her familiarly, as if she were an acquaintance from college or the clerk at their dry cleaners. But "Pat" is Pat Dowell, the city planner who unseated 22-year incumbent Dorothy Tillman with 54 percent of the vote in the runoff. Dowell campaigned on a vow to make the alderman's office more open and accountable to residents while spurring development and fighting crime, and if the CAPS meeting is any indication, people in the ward have high hopes for her ability to deliver.
"I'm going strictly to Pat Dowell," said a man complaining about an abandoned building on South Michigan. "I've already called the city inspectors, and I don't know why they haven't ticketed anyone. . . . I got my wife and all my relatives around here, and we all voted for the new alderman. And this is one of the reasons we wanted somebody new in."
The cop advised residents to form block clubs and go to Dowell with their requests as soon as possible. "As you know, Pat has come to these meetings many times," he said. "But I'm giving you suggestions of things that have been productive for people in other wards, because as soon as [her office] door's open, everyone's going to rush in."