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Officer Jennifer Maddox believes that policing means service. A 21-year veteran of the Chicago Police, Maddox joined the force
after counseling adolescents coming out of the juvenile justice system. She wanted to do more to help the community and saw
policing as a more effective way to serve.
Now, more than two decades in, Maddox says she loves her job because she can engage directly with people and try to help
them. She has been especially engaged with the residents of the Parkway Gardens Apartments for the past decade.
BUILDING TRUST ON THE BEAT
When Maddox started patrolling in the Third District, a tough neighborhood on the South Side, her beat included the densely
populated Parkway Gardens Apartments and a lot of calls for service, many of which involved children.
Most of Parkway’s residents were skeptical of police and avoided her. Maddox, undeterred, took a part-time job as a security
guard at the property to learn more about the community and build relationships with the residents.
Little by little, Maddox gained their trust, and a few residents began talking to her. She quickly realized that the kids who lived
there had nowhere to go and nothing to do but get into mischief and worse, so she set about finding a place for them to gather
safely and constructively.
In 2007, she secured the keys to a basement room, stocked it with snacks and board games and hung a sign on the door
declaring it the home of Future Ties, a safe place for Parkway’s kids to gather.It took a while to catch on, said Maddox,
because the kids still knew she was a police officer. But after the first few came to check it out, word spread quickly.
“Once I started walking the property and then buying snacks and juices and chips, the kids started coming down and peeking
in,” she said. “And then after a while, it got to be overwhelming because I had over a hundred kids coming in at one time.”
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