Four Steps Update: What Mayor Johnson and Chief Snelling REALLY WANT for Public Safety in Chicago

Chicago Civic Media
4 min readOct 23, 2023
CPD Chief Larry Snelling stated his and Mayor Johnson’s top public safety priority — citywide involvement — in his Oct 18 WGN-TV interview

by Steve Sewall

Here I’d like to give you an inside look at how Chicago Civic Media is “farming out” our Four Steps reality TV program for young Chicago problem solvers.

This I’ll do by sharing an email I wrote today in response to the latest rejection of Four Steps by a Chicago college to which I’d submitted two versions of our Proof of Concept.

But I want to give you something from the outside as well.

Something public. Very public. On the public record. Something that in my view every Chicagoan should know about — and be thinking about.

But something that you yourself, dear reader, have almost certainly never even heard about.

Why? Because while this something was made very public in Chicago’s media — on WGN-TV, Chicago’s very own, of all places — it was downplayed or ignored elsewhere in Chicago’s media.

(Dare we add that this media-induced nullification of crtically important statements by city leaders has been the name of the game in Chicago?)

So here this something publi is, revived—brought back to life—in my Four Steps email today, written to a thoughtul Chicago college administrator whose morning email to me moved me despite its qualified “not now” rejection of Four Steps.

Let’s begin with her email to me, anonymized to protect college and administrator. She wrote as follows:

Thank you for your email Steve.

I actually brought my laptop home this weekend with the intention of responding over the weekend to you and a few others. It is a pleasant surprise to receive your email at the top as I open up on this Sunday morning.

Based on the time constraints that seem to be in place, for now, for [my college] it [Four Steps] is a not now. I understand and respect that you are moving forward. If anything comes up on my end, I will reach out to see if you are still looking for partners in your production.

All the best to you and the youth you impact in Chicago and beyond.

Sincerely, Alison

OK. This email was from someone who cares. It got me thinking. And here’s what I write Alison in response:

Alison, what a gracious email. Took some of the pain out of the rejection as I read it this Monday morning.

But I don’t feel much pain these days as I’m so used to rejection.

Not sure of the time constraints you refer to, but we are flexible on our end.

There’s a message I’d be grateful for you to pass on to anyone at [the college] who cares about Chicago’s future. Here it is:

Like past Chicago mayors and police chiefs, Mayor Brandon Johnson and CPD Chief Larry Snelling are now firmly on record as calling for citywide involvement to address violence.

In fact, citywide involvement is officially the top public safety priority for both men, as confirmed 30 seconds into Chief Snelling’s Oct 18 interview with WGN news anchor Stafan Holt.

Here Holt puts the critical question :

Holt: ‘When the mayor picked you for this job, what did he ask of you, what was his request of you to become the superintendent?

Snelling: “He wanted to know what my vision was for the city. The mayor’s perspective is that everyone should be involved. And I shared that because the police can’t do it alone. We need everyone involved. Everyone in the city has to be a stakeholder. Everyone in this city has to be a stakeholder. If we want to see our city move forward, and what a beautiful city that it is, and we want to keep it that way, then everyone has to get involved.

That said, one looks in vain to see what steps are being taken by City Hall — or by anyone in Chicago, for that matter — to generate this high level of citizen involvement.

The airing of Four Steps on community TV and then citywide TV will be a historic first step towards realizing this top priority of the mayor and his chief of police.

It will secure funding from local foundations and businesses.

And it will win awards and accolades for its producers and participants.

Because it WILL make a difference.

Chicagoans YEARN for safety, KKC students included. Four Steps gives them a chance to fulfill this yearning.

Don’t miss the boat on Four Steps.

That’s my message. Thanks, Alison. Perhaps it will strike a chord with the right person at [college].

Let’s stay in touch.

Very sincerely,


Over and out, dear reader. More later as we press hard for Four Steps. And a safe Chicago.


Learn about Four Steps at

And support our work at our GoFundMe.



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