Tuesday, November 28, 2017
Chicago PD Hero
Jennifer Maddox has been selected as a 2017 Top 10 CNN Hero. Voting is now underway to select the Hero of the Year, to be revealed during 'CNN Heroes: An All-Star Tribute,' airing live, Sunday, Dec. 17 at 8 p.m. ET.
Chicago, Illinois (CNN) Jennifer Maddox is no stranger to the violence in the city of Chicago.
For more than two decades, as a member of the Chicago Police Department, she's observed the growing plight facing residents—particularly young people on the South Side.
"We are in a state of emergency here," Maddox said. "The shooting, the killing. Five-, six-, seven-year-olds—they're losing people that they love and care about."
Last year was Chicago's deadliest in nearly two decades, with 762 homicides, according to the Chicago Police Department. And until recently, 2017 was on par with last year's rate.
"A lot of our young people are fearful to even come outside," Maddox said.
For the last six years, Maddox has dedicated herself to giving young people their childhoods back.
Her nonprofit, Future Ties, offers an afterschool program and escape for children living in the turbulent Parkway Gardens Homes. This low-income apartment complex that once housed the likes of Michelle Obama is today a neighborhood rife with challenges.
"Parkway used to be a beat I covered on my patrol," said Maddox, 45. "I saw lack of opportunity, lack of resources, lack of community spaces for young people, and it sparked something inside of me."
Today, Maddox and her group provide a free, safe space for more than 100 children in grades K-5 to learn, grow and succeed. Her ultimate goal is to reach all 1,200 children that live in the complex. Maddox works a second job to support these efforts.
CNN's Marissa Calhoun spoke with Maddox about her work: One Chicago cop's solution: Stop the violence before it starts