The visit by Deputy Chief of Police of Chicago Eric Carter and District Commander Ernest Cato III was organised by the US Consulate in Cape Town, with the aim of creating and fostering partnerships between the US and South African law enforcement, the Department of Community Safety and the Committee for Safety and Security for the City of Cape Town.
The US officials also wanted a first-hand experience of the policing challenges and crime-prevention methods used in Cape Town.
Hendrik Smith, operational commander for Bellville, explained that the area had to deal with issues such as drugs, prostitution and homeless people. This visit was important for the US officials to see how police here handle the challenges.
“We also hoped to get more knowledge from the US officials on policing practices so that we can learn from them and improve our own areas,” said Smith.
Ellen Masi, public affairs officer at the US Consulate, said part of the aim of the visit was to exchange ideas on policing methods.
The walking tour started at the control order room for Bellville and Parow where the Chicago cops observed how the city’s cameras overlooked the area.
“We came here to exchange ideas We have gang issues in Chicago that are also faced here and the way we deal with them are somewhat similar,” said Carter.
He explained that they hope the partnership would continue.
“I have seen that Cape Town and Chicago do share some of the same problems such as violence, homelessness and lack of opportunity.
“We came here to share how we look into these issues and to see how South Africa looks into them. On the tour, I have also seen people who are looking for help and who are willing to take help,” said Cato.