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What the heck is going on in Chicago?

Friday, Sep 26, 2008

* We’re coming a little late to this story, but a well-written AP investigative piece got a lot of recent national play

Serious crime is up but arrests are down in Chicago, and some police officers say they are working the streets less aggressively out of resentment toward their new chief and fear of being second-guessed by him.

“People are doing just what they need to get through” their shifts, said Lt. Robert Weisskopf, president of the Chicago police lieutenants union, “and not any extra.”

The reporting did not rely solely on the word of the cops involved in what appears to be a work slowdown. Instead, the AP pulled up some startling statistics…

Through the end of August, the department made 103,589 arrests (not including arrests for outstanding arrest warrants) compared with 117,971 for the same period last year, according to the department. The 5,600 guns recovered is roughly half as many as police seized in the same period in 2007, internal documents show.

Bookings in the Cook County Jail - where the vast majority of inmates come from Chicago - are down, too. In all but one month this year, the number of people booked into the jail was down from the same month a year earlier, sometimes by hundreds, according to data obtained by the AP through a Freedom of Information Act request.

* This, however, is the most telling number…

But among the slew of statistics kept by the department are “self-initiated” calls, or those in which officers stop and question people about possible drug or gang activity. Department figures show the total is down by more than 3,700 from the same period last year.

* Anyone who skims through posts and comments at the unofficial, but very high-traffic Second City Cop blog can plainly see a problem. Cops, like soldiers, are infamous for grumbling about their jobs and their superior officers, but some of this stuff goes way beyond the usually expected complaints.

* The biggest complaint, at least publicly, is that officers believe Police Superintendent Jody Weis - the department’s first “outsider” who comes from the FBI ranks - will not back them up when they’re in a tough spot and treats them like they’re the enemy

The mistrust grew after the department announced recently that every police car would be equipped with electronic tracking devices and officers would be asked to submit DNA samples at crime scenes.

“If you don’t feel your bosses support you, are you going to stick your neck out?” Weisskopf asked.

* But the police are also upset at how their union contract negotiations have stalled. From the Washington Post

The slowdown is known as “de-policing,” and Mark Donahue, president of the Fraternal Order of Police, says it could result in more crime and more guns on the streets. […]

In addition, there is bad blood between the officers and the superintendent stemming from negotiations over a new contract, which Donahue said “are not going well.” The main issues in the contract, which would replace one that expired in June 2007, involve pay and benefits.

Forcing union members to work that long without a contract can lead to all sorts of problems, including “work strictly to the rules” job actions. Much more attention needs to be paid to this issue.

* This story broke yesterday and is not helpful at all…

The Chicago Police Department is down hundreds of officers despite pledges by City Hall to boost the force to combat growing violent crime, police union and department officials confirmed Wednesday. […]

With retirements, firings and resignations, the department is down 250 officers and could be down more than 400 officers by the end of the year, said Mark Donahue, president of the Fraternal Order of Police, the union representing patrol officers. The department has lost about 375 officers and hired only 125 since the beginning of the year, Donahue said.

* The very same day, Daley’s office leaked a story to the Sun-Times

Mayor Daley is urging Iowa Gov. Chet Culver to pardon Chicago Police Officer Michael Mette, who has sat in an Iowa prison for nearly a year for punching a man who repeatedly attacked him outside a 2005 party in Dubuque.

“Mr. Mette’’s response to the physical assault he experienced was not pre-meditated, but merely a matter of self-defense in reaction to a very real threat,” Daley wrote in an Aug. 20 letter to Culver.

* Second City Cop responds

Let’s check our handy dandy little day planner. Yup, it’s 25 September. So where has this info been hiding since 20 August? […]

It sure seems we’re getting patted on the back with one hand while the other knifes us. Typical Chicago.

* This isn’t helping matters, either

Some aldermen, though, are quietly suggesting that Donahue’s union could pay for a few more jobs if it were willing to give up a few costly perks. On top of their regular pay, officers receive $730 every three months for “duty availability”—that is, simply being on call, even though they get additional overtime pay if they actually have to take an extra shift. They receive another $600 every three months to pay for new uniforms, and they can take a check for any furlough time they deserve but don’t use. These benefits add up to about $73 million a year.

“Apparently the aldermen grumbling about such things don’t see the hypocrisy of their grumblings,” Donahue says. “The average police officer coming out of the police academy onto the force is going to make an investment of $7,000 to $9,000 dollars—the department doesn’t buy the uniform, doesn’t buy the guns, doesn’t buy the shoes. What would the aldermen say if we proposed cutting the money for their staff and expenses?”

* Mayor Daley ducked questions yesterday about the police vacancies, but promised to talk to reporters today. We’ll see what he says.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - Skeeter - Friday, Sep 26, 08 @ 10:11 am:

    When I did work for the FOP defending OPS cases, that was a problem I saw.
    The POs at OPS for the most part were good ones. If you made arrests, you got beefs.
    If you sat around with your hands folded, you never had a problem.
    We used to joke about. Be a good PO? Expect to get hit for a few days every so often.

    The root of the problem is that the bad guys figured out the system. Good POs got the beefs. Some of them were classic — the bad guys would make a complaint and the PO would show up and his defense would be “I was not working that day.”

  2. - Irish - Friday, Sep 26, 08 @ 10:31 am:

    How does one tell if this is a case where there are legitimate complaints from the officers or they are resisting change that makes them more accountable. I can see where an honest hard working officer might take exception to some of this stuff. But if they look at the recent track record of a minority of officers they have to realize that maybe this is the right thing to do to give the Department a better image.
    Also if you were trying to build some loyalty and cohesiveness between the new chief and his subordinates why would you put him in the position of negotiating the contract? I think that is very counter productive.

  3. - The Doc - Friday, Sep 26, 08 @ 10:32 am:

    This has the potential to be more devastating to the city’s Olympic bid than perhaps any other issue, so I expect Daley will do whatever he feels necessary to snuff it out.

  4. - Sinister - Friday, Sep 26, 08 @ 10:33 am:

    This is of no surprise. With cops being labeled as thugs, their initiative and motive went out the window, then the icing on the cake was the ‘outsider’ Weis getting hired as chief. I am a strong supporter of CPD but its a shame that it has come down to this. A lot of good cops are being labeled as goons.

  5. - Altgeld's Ghost - Friday, Sep 26, 08 @ 10:35 am:

    If we are down all those police, maybe it’s time to take the police detail away from Ed Burke and put those cops back on the street. It is a total slap in the face of the taxpayer to have the “Gage Park Dandy” being driven around by police officers at taxpayers expense because he is Chairman of the City Council Finance Committee. This guy has more than $6 million in his political warchests. Let him pay for the drivers himself if he wants and put the cops back on the street doing a service to all the taxpayers.

  6. - VanillaMan - Friday, Sep 26, 08 @ 10:45 am:

    There is an increasing lack of respect for police officers in our society. After forty years of policing the police, we should have also focused on maintaining a fair balance between citizens who work as police officers and citizens processed by police officers.

    When we believe that law breakers are victims we naturally believe that their victimization occurred by the police who arrest them. While it is good to ensure that police are not abusing their powers, we have to be more cognisant of their daily lives and the risks they take.

    When the police union couldn’t reach a deal with The City regarding their contract, it was another blow against the city police. Consequentially, how the police are policing is reflective of their feelings of exposure to blame and scorn when they do their work.

    We must renew societal respect for our police, and pay them for the risks they take by doing their jobs. Enough is enough.

  7. - Phineas J. Whoopee - Friday, Sep 26, 08 @ 10:47 am:

    When your job requires frequent confrontations that can become violent which frequently leads to criminal, employment and civil charges being brought against you, it is imperative that the employees trust their superiors to fairly support their actions. Mayor Daley doesn’t have the trust of his police force and sending a letter doesn’t cut it-resigning might.

    I know that sounds harsh but there is bitter blood between these parties and Chicago can get away with a new Mayor but we can’t without good cops. The amount of animosity it took for good police officers to resort to laying down and letting the gangs run the hoods can’t be underestimated.

    Precious lives are being lost to the gangs and families are more under siege than ever. We can’t keep gangs from forced recruitment when they run the show. A positively motivated force is an instrumental tool in combating gang infestation and this situation has to be remedied.

  8. - irishpirate - Friday, Sep 26, 08 @ 10:50 am:

    Daley badly needed to hire an outsider to run CPD.

    Unfortunately, he chose an outsider with no municipal big city police experience. He chose unfrozen caveman superintendent because of his experience as the number two man in the FBI’s internal affairs unit. Where Weis tried to force out a FBI whistleblower who talked about mistakes prior to 9/11. Daley must have loved that image.

    Even if “da mare” had hired someone with the right experience to run the department I doubt many changes would be implemented. The department is largely run as an extension of the 11th and 19th Ward political organizations. Clout is King regarding “merit” promotions and assignments. Morale sucks and until Daley brings in a professional and let’s said professional run the show things are only going to continue downhill.

  9. - wordslinger - Friday, Sep 26, 08 @ 10:54 am:

    This has been brewing for a while. A lot of cops I know, the white ethnic types, believe they were there with Daley at the beginning and he’s taken them for granted because they have “nowhere else to go.”

    The lack of contract has been a real sore spot. They also believe he threw them all under the bus in the media over the police brutality cases and by creating the new, independent office to handle citizen complaints.

    Weiss was the last straw. He came in as a hatchet man, said that too many cops were fat, etc. To them, he’s not really a cop, he’s a fed. A lot of being a cop is crime prevention and keeping a lid on things, not CSI/FBI crime-solving.

    This is a big problem and the mayor is going to have to humble himself a little bit.

  10. - Anon - Friday, Sep 26, 08 @ 11:00 am:

    Is it possible the arrest statistics are down because they’re not counting the busts made by the State Police and National Guard members the Governor sent to clean up Chicago? He never did that? Oh. Never mind.

  11. - Carl Nyberg - Friday, Sep 26, 08 @ 11:01 am:

    Who are these good cops on the Chicago PD?

    Which Chicago police officers have reported abuses by their police peers? In my thinking, any cop that isn’t reporting bad cops has got no right to be grumbling when the chief of police starts holding cops accountable.

    Cops underpaid? What private sector jobs that don’t require a BA pay as well as police officers?

  12. - Bill - Friday, Sep 26, 08 @ 11:08 am:

    Isn’t it possible that some of that lack of respect stems from the way the police themselves behave? Lately, I seen a bunch of 20 something punks with badges who must have skipped common courtesy 101 at the academy.

  13. - red dog - Friday, Sep 26, 08 @ 11:14 am:

    if you take calls,do your paperwork,you go home-you don’t put your house,pension,car and most importantly your life in reckless endangerment-especially for about 60% of a state trooper’s salary

  14. - JonShibleyFan - Friday, Sep 26, 08 @ 11:20 am:

    If you give in to a child, or someone behaving like one, they will continue to seek that response.

    I am usually on the side of the cops, but it’s probably time for the department to crack down. Don’t like your job? See ya. Good luck applying your skill set somewhere else.

    Seriously, you’re letting people die because you don’t like your boss? Pathetic. Act like a freaking adult.

  15. - cermak_rd - Friday, Sep 26, 08 @ 11:24 am:

    I don’t think it’s unreasonable for police officers to submit their DNA at a crime scene, it’s for elimination purposes! And the GPS tracking might come in real handy if an officer goes missing or if someone claims an officer beat him at 163rd and GPS shows he was at 55th.

    The CPD has got to expect some oversight of their activities. I mean, it wasn’t so long ago, we had a couple of officers running a crime ring! And then there was dude beating up a bartender.

  16. - Snidely Whiplash - Friday, Sep 26, 08 @ 11:28 am:

    If dem dam coppers wood just wok da preceents like ev’ry body else, day wood have dere contract an’ a raise, too. Who are day to complain when day don’t wanna be team players? ;)

  17. - Amy - Friday, Sep 26, 08 @ 11:40 am:

    some police personnel may be sitting on their hands, but there
    is an increase in crime, period. the issue with police is easier
    to deal with, despite resentments of some. the more difficult
    issue for government is why is there an increase in crime? one
    persistent problem is the “no snitching” mentality. it’s no
    wonder that police have difficulty working in an environment
    where some, including religious officials, overtly support the criminal and question the police. crime is crime. you can count the dead and injured, the women raped. it’s not like the police make up these victims. communities should be full on for the
    victim. everyone should think of the victims first, a common
    point of agreement from which to start working together.

  18. - Snidely Whiplash - Friday, Sep 26, 08 @ 12:06 pm:

    Cermak, if they’re on some kind of consolidated GPS, every donut shop on the map will look like it has Godzilla in its parking lot! :D

  19. - cermak_rd - Friday, Sep 26, 08 @ 12:41 pm:

    You know, I’ve always assumed that police officers were at donut shops and 711s and such) to use the facilities, and maybe get out and stretch their legs a bit and chew the fat with the employees at the business. I have no problem with any of that. To expect them to drive around on their entire shift without a reasonable number of bathroom breaks or without any communication with people who aren’t perps or victims of crimes, is a little much to ask.

  20. - Snidely Whiplash - Friday, Sep 26, 08 @ 12:43 pm:

    Just a joke. I do support the police. Still, ya gotta admit, its timeless but always funny, except to the cop you tell it to while you watch the veins pop out of his forehead.

  21. - cermak_rd - Friday, Sep 26, 08 @ 12:51 pm:


    well true. Some get a little, umm, thin-skinned.

  22. - Phineas J. Whoopee - Friday, Sep 26, 08 @ 12:55 pm:


    Your kinda missing what’s happening in the police force. The good cops are acting like the bad cops, because the bad ones don’t get in trouble, the good ones do.

    If they go in to save a life and things get rough, they need to know someone will be their for them later. As Mayor Daley said recently concerning the Governor, It is a matter of trust and once you lose it-it’s hard to get back.

  23. - fed up - Friday, Sep 26, 08 @ 1:06 pm:

    I wonder how many days the Chicago public school teachers would have worked without a contract. None! The Chicago garbage men I am sure would of picked up the trash without a contract. The electricans carpenters laborers water dept all would not work day one without a contract.

  24. - fed up - Friday, Sep 26, 08 @ 1:18 pm:

    - cermak_rd - Friday, Sep 26, 08 @ 11:24 am:

    I don’t think it’s unreasonable for police officers to submit their DNA at a crime scene, it’s for elimination purposes! And the GPS tracking might come in real handy if an officer goes missing or if someone claims an officer beat him at 163rd and GPS shows he was at 55th.

    The CPD has got to expect some oversight of their activities. I mean, it wasn’t so long ago, we had a couple of officers running a crime ring! And then there was dude beating up a bartender.

    I would not give my DNA to anyone you trust the govt way to much. GPS for the cars is a decent idea and one I am sure most can see the usefulness for. As for criminal cops percentage wise we have many more corrupt alderman and the city council refuses to let the inspector general investigate ald or staff. Many more criminal ministers but no one wants to oversee religious faiths. When joe schmo the factory workers beats up a bartender it doesnt get played on the news or upgraded to a felony. The cops got a crap job that everyone likes to see get taken down. I don’t know why anyone would do it anymore. Maybe crime is up because the economy is in the crapper or the changeing population demographic more of the population in high crime age group (16-25) or a break down in the moral fiber of the country. There could be a lot of reasons. To say cops are unhappy with their boss so crime is up is just ignorant as a old college teacher once said corrulation does not mean causation.

  25. - Hickory - Friday, Sep 26, 08 @ 1:33 pm:

    Everyone fails to recognize that we have a social issue more than a police issue. We need more community organizers.

  26. - Phineas J. Whoopee - Friday, Sep 26, 08 @ 1:36 pm:

    Fed Up,

    It is not just the higher crime rate stat that is the most telling about the de-policing; it is the number of arrests and stops being down that demonstrates a pull back.

  27. - fed up - Friday, Sep 26, 08 @ 2:24 pm:

    Police are now forced to fill out cards stating the race of the person stopped and reason for stoping and talking to someone. Yeah I would bet stops are going way down. When you start treating police like a pinata they are naturally going to stop taking chances and just do what they have to, to get through a shift. It is similar to Doctors try and find a brain surgeon that practices in Ill. it is damn near impossible. you get sued enough you stop taking chances and tell people you no longer perform that service. Police are simpley not performing a service that could cause complaints or get them sued. Whats a few extra murders or robbery’s when we get nice PC police.

  28. - Chicago Cop - Saturday, Sep 27, 08 @ 4:53 am:

    The number one problem facing the CPD is the fact that we are short, upwards of 2,000 sworn personnel, and this is being concealed. The officers know it, they see it and they feel it. Morale is in the toilet. There is no leadership or support being displayed, at any managerial level.

    The CPD wrongfully stripped and fired some officers. This has had long-lasting repercussions within the rank and file. The disciplinary process is not fair and objectively based. The promotional process is primarily based upon clout, not on knowledge or competency. The existing merit system leads to great frustration. We work six straight days in a row with CPD’s archaic work schedule. The work schedule further increases stress levels. The residency requirement is killing the job, by keeping qualified younger officers away. The media hammers the CPD unfairly, on a daily basis. The contract has been expired for 15+ months, with no resolution in sight. The squad cars, computers and radio batteries don’t function properly. Other times, there are not enough squad cars, radios and batteries to equip all the officers working. Equipment shortages and malfunctions place officers in additional danger. Officers routinely find themselves semi-involuntarily working alone. Working alone resulted in Officer Richard Francis’s murder in July. The contract stipulates that officers work as two man units, during the hours of darkness. If officers complain about being assigned to work alone, retaliation will come about. Compensatory time is routinely denied, due to manpower requirements. Chicago is an exceedingly expensive city to reside in, with a very high cost of living and the worst public schools in the nation. Chicago has the some of the highest taxes in the nation,IE. sales tax. The officers are also picking up an overall feeling of hopelessness and despair, this is downright dangerous.

    To be fair, Superintendent Jody Weis inherited a shipwreck of monstrous proportions from Phil Cline. This situation did not just arise under Weis’s tenure, but has been festering for sometime. This situation was definitively made much worse under Cline’s tenure. Many officers, initially applauded the appointment of an esteemed outsider taking the reigns. Officers believed that change was forthcoming. Some of Weis’s initial moves immediately changed that assumption though. Weis sought and obtained Federal charges against Bill Cozzi, this was the icing on the cake.

    Chicago Police Officers work in some of the nation’s worst Hell holes. These officers are routinely involved in life and death situations; that are to say, unnerving. Chicago is the third largest city in the nation, but now has the highest homicide rate and violent crime rate in America. NYC has a population of 8.6 million, while Chicago has 2.86 million. This year,Chicago is exceeding NYC’s homicide rate.

    City politicians claim that there is a 420 million dollar deficit. Yet, there is over 800 million dollars sitting in the TIF Funds, 500 million dollars sitting in a bond fund from the lease of the Chicago Skyway, and who knows how much money accrued from the lease of Midway Airport. Last year’s record property tax increase was to fund police hiring, and to settle labor contracts. Where has all this money gone? Ironically, the politicians claim broke. This all, coincidentally coincides, while the police contract is being negotiated; and allegedly justifies the critical manpower shortage. Officers believe the monies are being diverted for the 2016 Summer Olympics. This is occurring at the expense of Chicago’s children, residents, visitors, tourists and officers’ safety.

    Many chess experts, view the knight as one of the most important strategic game pieces. The knight is a necessity to win a chess game. Knights guard and defend the King, at all cost. What happens when the knights are all turned into pawns?

    Remember, we are the eyes and ears, and the pulse of the third largest city in the United States. Overall pressure is building in society; fueled by the impending economic woes, the daily stress, terrorism, the wars, the disgust with corruption, and the moral decay in society. We know and feel that something is seriously askew. You could call us the blue canaries, yet we still stick it out, and keep you safe.

    It’s okay, joke about us,scorn us, denigrate us and look down upon us. Realize one thing, when we fail or fall in battle: Who will protect you and yours, in this AntI-GuN asylum state, called Chicago, Illinois???

  29. - Unhappy Cop - Saturday, Sep 27, 08 @ 7:56 am:

    The Chicago police department spends money on Blue light cameras, tahoes and GPS, which are useless items. Police are deployed where they shouldn’t be, i.e. CAPS office, TRU, the airports. The airports have aviation police which Daley refuses to arm. Because of that, Chicago Police who are needed on the street and receive a much higher salary are in the airports instead of on the streets. CAPS doesn’t work and the Blue light cameras are useless. The reason Daley gave to not arm Aviation Police who are State Certified Police officers, is that we don’t need more people with guns. But this keeps Chicago Police deployed to the airports full time instead of on the street where there is a major shortage of police. We have police that could be in the districts, but because of poor management by the Mayor and Police Brass, the police on thje street are working alone on the 3rd and 1st watches. Maybe Daley can start looking at the waste of manpower to shore up the districts, since he refuses to hire anymore police.

  30. - fed up - Saturday, Sep 27, 08 @ 10:35 am:

    Daley refused to answer questions on fri. he isn’t as dumb as he usually sounds he knows the media will forget about this and move on to the next story soon.

  31. - Tired of the Spin - Saturday, Sep 27, 08 @ 5:14 pm:

    The truth is getting out there but will be ignored until a prominent politician or celebrity is affected by the lack of cops on the streets of Chicago.

    Daley could careless about Chicago cops or residents, they don’t kick in the big cash. The Superintendent is either clueless or part of the spin machine. Jody Weis was recently interviewed on WLS and stated that there is no morale problem on the CPD and everything is fine.

    Talk to any Chicago cop to get the real truth, I think they are a pretty good barometer of what is happening.

  32. - Chicago Cop - Sunday, Sep 28, 08 @ 1:25 pm:

    Sadly, things are getting worse in Chicago. We have an officer hanging on for his life after being shot numerous times. Please say a prayer for him and his family.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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* Springfield jobless rate falls again, to 5.1 percent
* Michael Gerson: The Trump effect, still 'understated'
* Catherine Rampell: For millennials, first comes love — then what?
* Springfield police chief sees problems with body cam law
* Lawsuit challenges Illinois ban on marijuana campaign money

* Illini swept again by Nebaska
* Cubit planning ahead
* PODCAST: Sports Talk 11-25-15
* Asmussen's Huddle Up: Michigan State feeling good
* PODCAST: Celestina Savonius-Wroth, U of I Library
* Ex-Rockets: Relish experience
* Arcola's Hutton takes care of business
* Updated: Danville teen killed, 3 hurt, in Indiana crash
* The Health Reporter Is In: Nov. 25, 2015
* Danville teen killed, 3 hurt, in Indiana crash

* Lowry, DeRozan lead Raptors past Cavaliers, 103-99
* Vermette, Duclair, Domi lead Coyotes to 4-2 win over Ducks
* At funeral for slain Minneapolis man, vow to seek justice
* Better effort helps Buffalo Grove past Marmion
* A different kind of college achievers

* House lawmakers overcome hurdle on key tra...
* Rodney Davis talks funding with Bloomingto...
* The agency that fought Illiana gets a new ...
* Rep. Dold takes educational cruise down Ch...
* Lawmakers decry high turnover rate of VA h...
* CBD Oil, and politics
* Simon considering state Senate bid
* Killer Congressman Tom MacArthur trying to...
* Shutdown? State may not notice
* Rep. Bob Dold

* Nebraska ethanol producers name former Dur......

* Opinion: Sen. Kirk must stand with crimina......
* Kirk co-authors Government Transformation ......

* It seems like it’s everywhere, that video of the final moments of Laquan’s life
* Laquan McDonald.
* Sixteen shots. The story that broke the silence.
* Thomas Francis McGuire interviewed on NTNM
* Random thoughts.
* Prosecutors drop charges against Malcolm London.
* Lawless: The Obama Administration’s Unprecedented Assault on the Constitution and the Rule of Law
* Thanksgiving by the numbers
* IAR offices closed Thursday and Friday for Thanksgiving holiday
* Charter expansion. Where is the IEA?

* Emergency Management Officials, National Weather Service Encourage Winter Preparedness - November is Winter Weather Preparedness Month in Illinois
* Keep Your Family Safe This Winter - November through February are leading months for carbon monoxide related incidents
* Governor Takes Bill Action
* Illinois Department of Labor Director Hugo Chaviano Awards Governor’s Award for Contributions in Health and Safety to the Illinois Refining Division of Marathon Petroleum Company LP
* State Regulator Elected Treasurer of Interstate Medical Licensure Compact

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