It's all about community and partnerships: Adam Henkels, CAPS Sergeant, 14th District


Sergeant Adam Henkels talks with people in Pritzker School

"It's a bit like coming home," says Sergeant Adam Henkels, Chicago Police Department's (CPD) 14th District, who recently replaced Sergeant Filipe Reyes* as head of the District's CAPS (Chicago Alternative Policing Strategy) office. 

A born and bred Chicagoan, Henkels grew up in the area of Pulaski and North. During his 25 years on the force, he has worked in Town Hall (former 23rd Distirct) and the 8th District before moving into the 14th two years ago, as he became a sergeant. 

While he served much of his career in a beat car, his nine years as a school officer at Roosevelt High School appears to have shaped his beliefs and solution based approach to policing.  

Connecting with people, creating relationships and developing partnerships is what being a school officer was about and it is what CAPS is about. "In a patrol car, you do the best you can on your shift, whether resolving an issue or making sure no one gets hurt. But, you really don't have follow up," explains Henkels. "Generally the detectives do that." 

"Meeting many people, as we do in CAPS, and forming partnerships is so important these days. Without them, nothing gets solved whether in community, faith based groups or in outreach programs. No one entity is going to solve the problem … like the old saying that it takes a village to raise a child." 

To illustrate the positive results of connecting with community, he shared this story. "I was off duty in a Starbucks one day. This kid, well now he is 22 or 23, says, 'Officer Adam how have you been? I want you to meet my wife and two kids. Honey,' he says to his wife, 'this officer arrested me five times but he is the nicest officer ever.' 

"As an officer, you have to do your job, but there are ways you should do it and ways you shouldn't. You see the later in the news and then there are the ways you should do it. Even though you have to arrest somebody you do it nicely, correctly." 

What is it like to head up the CAPS team? "My hours depend on my schedule but I have weekends off," he said with a chuckle. "I've already worked several weekend days," he added as the chuckle turned to laughter.

As part of making connections. Henkels has revived the position of Officer Friendly, which is being fulfilled by Officer Tom McNamara.

*Felipe Reyes became a Lieutenant a couple of weeks ago and is working nights in the 15th District.




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