* The problem with finding a “middle ground” on hot-button issues is that both well-funded sides of those issues are usually so radicalized that any attempt at compromise is seen as a complete surrender of principles. So, I wouldn’t hold out too much hope for compromise here…
Jody Weis wasn’t the only ex-city official that new police chief Garry McCarthy attempted to distance himself from on Monday. He also signaled a distaste for the gun control policies of former Mayor Richard M. Daley.
“My goal is to bring the gun debate back to the center,” McCarthy told aldermen. “I think that we have abolitionists on one side and I think that we have NRA and those kind of folks on the other side, and frankly it’s too polarizing a debate, and 95 percent of the country is somewhere in between.”
That is not something that would have been uttered by a Chicago public official a month ago. Daley was a relentless advocate of tough gun control laws—one of the “abolitionists” McCarthy referred to—and he tolerated no open dissent in city government. […]
“I think that we can protect the Second Amendment rights of people to bear firearms while at the same time preventing the illegal flow of firearms into our urban centers and killing our children,” he said. “That’s a pretty wide gap, and there’s someplace in between that we can come as a country.”
McCarthy noted that he’s the chairman of a policy committee on gun control for the Major Cities Chiefs Association. “That’s one of the things I’m committed to. And with a platform like Chicago, Illinois, I think we can bring attention to the matter and get something done.”
* And with cutbacks in the 311 program, I’m not sure how successful this will be, either…
Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s choice to run Chicago’s Office of Emergency Management and Communications vowed Tuesday to usher in a “cultural change” in 911 dispatching to free police officers to respond to the most serious crimes.
At his City Council confirmation hearing, Gary Schenkel said it’s high time that Chicago alter an outdated dispatch policy that sends police officers to respond to 70 percent of 911 calls, compared to 30 percent in other major cities.
Schenkel acknowledged it won’t be easy to wean Chicagoans of the habit of dialing 911 at every turn, calling the emergency number even for minor matters. It will require a major public relations campaign to divert lower priority calls to 311 or convince crime victims to file their reports online, Schenkel said. […]
“If we start with the hard-fact data — the actual emergency responses that require a body, a car, an engine, an ambulance — that’s our starting point,” Schenkel said.
“Then, we look at the other end of the spectrum and say, `These are the types of calls we’re getting. Where’s my car? I think it was stolen. No, it was booted. No, it was hooked. I don’t know.’ Then, we start pushing those over gradually. We have to start that public information campaign.”
Former Mayor Richard M. Daley’s administration talked for years about altering dispatch policy but didn’t amid fears of a political backlash.
* Meanwhile, the fear of violence is increasing exponentially in the city…
* Mobs Attack on City Buses: Police - Gang of teens storm bus, attack victims and run off with their belongings, police say
* 3 arrested in another apparent mob attack
* Editorial: Mag Mile mobs - Chicago police need to target violent flash mobs
* But these buried nuggets in a Sun-Times story suggest that at least some of the problems are not real…
Mary L. McCarthy, a Gold Coast resident who is not related to the new chief, said flash mobs are giving her second thoughts about venturing out at night for the first time in the 13 years she’s lived in a high-rise in the 1400 block of North State Parkway. On Friday night, a crowd of about 20 youths gathered outside her building, she said. She claimed the youths pulled people out of cars and taxicabs, leading the doorman to lock the doors to her building.
“We need a bigger police presence. I don’t know, maybe bringing horses back would help. A show of force would stop this nonsense. This does not portend well for the summer,” she said.
Police Near North District commander Kenneth Angarone, however, said police responded to the scene at North State Parkway but did not find a “bona fide incident.’’
Several officers have also told the Sun-Times they were recently warned by superiors to tell family members not to ride their bikes on the lakefront because of incidents of mobs pushing people off their bikes — and sometimes pushing cyclists into the lake.
But Angarone said police also investigated those claims and could not determine the incidents were bona fide.