Chicago police officers capture 'faces of poverty'

February 4, 2010 5:07:26 PM PST
Some Chicago police officers doubling as photographers have captured images of poverty in the city while they are on the job. Their work is on display in a new exhibit. Fourteen Chicago police officers took 28 photographs depicting poverty and the rarely captured lives of Chicago's homeless population. They are also students in Adler's master in police psychology program.

Lt. Patty Casey came up with the idea for the class project.

"It's difficult knowing sometimes that or feeling you don't make a difference and that's why we're trying to do this so that we can make a difference and bring it to the public's attention," said Lt. Casey.

Adler school instructor Frank Gruba McCallister says the class aims to make police officers more sensitive and compassionate to their surroundings.

"It's to make them better at their job by making them more aware of the impact that the job has on them," said Gruba McCallister.

Lt. Casey and other officers say that taking the pictures have they changed their views about poverty and homelessness and made them better police officers.

"We really are one catastrophic illness away from being faced with poverty. Everyone that's homeless, they have a story," said Lt. Casey.

"Taking this class has helped me to become a better police officer for the citizens of Chicago,a better husband to my wife, a better father to my children and an overall better person. My picture focuses on a wide shot with a big advertisement in the background of this one gentleman. And that represented my view. I saw poverty before this class and my second picture represented a close-up of the individual which showed my transformation as far as now a more focused on the problem instead of it being more general," said Sgt. Bill Bradley, Chicago police officer.

The Faces of Poverty exhibit will be on display Thursday evening at the Black Walnut Gallery and is sponsored by Volunteers of America.

"Adler has been very generous to work with us and allow us to be the recipient of some wonderful donations that are hopefully coming our way tonight at the event," said Erica Foreman, Volunteers of America of Illinois.

People attending Thursday evening's program are being asked to bring an item to support operation duffle bag which brings much needed supplies to Chicago's homeless veterans this winter. They are asking for items such as bags, socks, scarves, gloves, sweatshirts and toiletries.