by William J. Kelly
On Tuesday, over three hundred police officers and their families united in protest outside of police headquarters on South Michigan Avenue what they perceive as “dangerously unsafe ” low levels of police manpower in the City of Chicago and a lack of confidence in Police Superintendent Jody Weis. The question is: Will officers’ streetwise voices be heard at the police superintendent’s office and in the halls of the Chicago City Council now or will they continue to be ignored?
In July, Chicago clocked its worst two-month run of violence against police officers in more than forty years with three officers killed. It’s not a record that those in the city council should be proud of. Mark Donahue, president of the Fraternal Order of Police says the manpower situation in the Chicago Police Department is bad. “Guys are out there every day telling us they have to wait for backup. And we’re advising them to wait for backup for their own safety,” said Donahue in July.
Cops waiting for backup in dangerous situations isn’t good news for Chicago police and their families and it isn’t good news for the people of Chicago. Donahue and Bill Doherty, Vice President of the Fraternal Order of Police believe
that the shortage of officers has emboldened criminals against law enforcement.
Meanwhile, while assaults on police officers are up 20%, the mainstream media and politicians are blaming petty politics and sour grapes as the source of the discontent. In today’s Chicago Sun-Times, columnist Mark Brown pointed to the lower protest turnout as compared to the 2,000 officers who showed up at City Hall in 2009 to protest contract negotiations. Mayor Daley stood up for Superintendent Weis at a press conference this morning, blaming union discontent with Weis, a former FBI agent. “Everybody wants one of their own. I don’t know what ‘their own’ is today,” said Daley.
Is that political spin, political reality, or somewhere in between? Only Mark Donahue, Jody Weis, and Mayor Daley know for sure. The one other truth we do know of is buried with the three police officers killed this summer.
And that just isn’t something you can spin.
William J. Kelly is a life-long Chicagoan and a resident of the 42nd ward for more than ten years. He is a producer of Emmy-award winning television and hosts the Kelly Truth Squad on AM 560 WIND. His two columns at the Washington Times Communities are among the top 10 reads every week. He was previously the Executive Director of the National Taxpayers United of Illinois, an affiliate of the National Taxpayers Union. He currently resides in Streeterville with his wife, Laura.
For more information, visit the website at www.friendsofwilliamjkelly.com.