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QUIET WARRIOR: JENNIFER MADDOX
- Mar 02, 2018 -

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FUTURE TIES TAKES ROOT

Maddox was managing Future Ties all by herself, on her own dime and her own time. She was running out of space and needed 

helpers to develop the program into something more structured and keep it running while she continued her full-time police job 

with CPD as well as her part-time security gig.


With the help of the Department of Human Services, she recruited some of the mothers who lived in Parkway Gardens to help 

out and shifted the program’s focus to after-school activities. In 2011, she registered Future Ties as an official not-for-profit 

organization, paving the way for fundraising.


Since then, Future Ties has grown and evolved and served hundreds of children, partnering with various community groups 

along the way. This summer, 30 teenagers are participating in a new summer camp, learning workforce skills, social skills and 

life lessons in dating, money management and conflict resolution.


They are also building relationships with other Chicago Police officers through a program called Bridging the Divide, which 

brings in local beat officers and community policing officers to build trust and help the kids feel more comfortable talking to the 

police.


SERVICE OVER CITATIONS


Reaching out through Future Ties marked a shift from the way Maddox had originally approached policing. Much of her training 

had been geared toward punitive measures like tickets, citations and arrests.


But when she learned more about the Parkway Gardens community, she saw that many people were struggling, trying to do 

their best but having a hard time making do with very limited means.


“I just started looking at things from a different perspective,” she said. “A lot of times, things that are happening in their 

households come from economics – no food, no clothes, no this, no shelter, my lights are off. There’s got to be more to policing 

than locking people up and writing tickets.”


Maddox admits it took her a while to recognize that the people she was arresting were coming back home to the same issues 

that led to their arrest, but she decided it would be smarter to try to help people make better choices.


She describes her mission as helping to “heal the block,” and she’s willing to do whatever it takes, including things like giving 

someone a ride to work or to school to help keep them on a positive path.


“Policing is a true service, and sometimes it’s more than just the lock ‘em up, arrest ‘em, write a ticket stuff,” she said. “… Maybe 

that’ll be one less domestic call we get because that’s a household we helped stabilize a little bit.”

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