Daniel Godsel new 9th District police commander
October 2, 2015
Daniel Godsel, 9th District police commander.

Daniel Godsel, 9th District police commander.

Daniel Godsel, a 24-year veteran of the Chicago Police Department, was sworn in on June 15 as commander of the 9th (Deering) Police District, which encompasses Bridgeport, Armour Square, Canaryville, Brighton Park, McKinley Park, Back of the Yards, and Chinatown.

Godsel, a native of the Southwest Side whose father was a firefighter, was assigned to the 21st District in Bronzeville for his first year and a half as a police officer and then moved to the 25th District at Grand and Central Avenues, where he spent the next ten years.

There, he was promoted to gang and tactical officer, a role Godsel described as having “a more aggressive patrol style.” He worked as part of a team of officers who wore “civilian dress, drove in unmarked cars, and handled higher risk situations” involving gangs, drugs, and violent crimes, he said.

After a little more than six years, he transferred to the 1st District at 18th and State Streets, where he worked in the traffic division in an administrative role.

“This was a tough transition for me, since I was accustomed to working on the street,” Godsel explained. “But I benefited from having a completely different experience and perspective on police work. It ended up being interesting.”

A year and a half later, he was promoted to sergeant and assigned to the 2nd District at 51st Street and Wentworth Avenue, where he became part of a specialized function unit that dealt with traffic, airports, public transportation, and special weapons and tactics teams.

When Godsel was promoted to lieutenant, he requested to join a division in charge of training field officers and was named the chief officer of that unit. He then became part of a mobile strike force, leading six teams that covered the most violent areas in the city. He later became a tactical lieutenant back at the 25th District and then commander of the 22nd District on the Far South Side.

Godsel stressed he intends to devote equal time to all areas within the 9th District and to frequent the different communities, talking to residents, business owners, clergy, and people on the street.

“We make every effort to be all inclusive of the whole of the district,” he said. “One of the things that I enjoy the most about my job is engaging with the community on many levels,” Godsel added. “Community outreach is crucial. I like to get out and walk around. I go out with foot officers on occasion, and it is a good way to meet a crosssection of the community. I always want to hear what people have to say.”

He schedules community meetings in all neighborhoods, which the district advertises through flyers, community organizations, C.A.P.S. offices, the district website, and “even tweets on our Twitter account,” he said.

“My number one goal is safety in these neighborhoods and ‘zero crime,’ although I realize that unfortunately is unattainable,” Godsel said. “Still, by making this our primary goal, we are going to improve safety and drive down violence.”

Another of Godsel’s goals is strengthening relationships between police and the community.

“We are in this together, which is part of the C.A.P.S. philosophy — that we [police] can’t do this on our own,” he said. “The police are part of the community, and it’s just better for everybody to work together.”

He also believes professionalism is important. “If you go out there maintaining professionalism, then everything follows: courtesy, demeanor, respect,” he said. Besides police work, a passion of Godsel’s since childhood has been art, and he continues to make time for line drawing and painting in oil and watercolor.

Godsel studied at the Art Institute of Chicago before attending the Police Academy.

“I couldn’t afford to continue at the Art Institute after high school, but after three years in the police force, with tuition reimbursement, I completed the program at the Art Institute,” earning a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree, he said. The 9th District/Deering Station is located at 3120 S. Halsted St. Call (312) 747-8227, fax: (312) 747-5329, email CAPS009District@chicagopolice.org, or tweet twitter.com/ninthdistrict.

— Amy Rothblatt