Lake Forest Patch: With out-of-control homicides in Chicago, policemen assigned to Charlotte

September 7, 2012

Nancy J. Thorner

Chicago certainly means different things to different people.  It is also a city where homicides outnumber U.S. troop killings in Afghanistan.…/chicago-homicide-rate-wpr_m_1602692

As No. 2 on the Top 10 list of Big Cities when it comes to murder – Chicago is on a path to overtake New York as the murder capital of the United States.

According to an article by Jason Keyser published on 4/12/12, “Homicides in Chicago spiked by 60 percent during the first three months of the year despite an increase in police resources in the city’s most dangerous neighborhoods, according to new police crime statistics.”

Police statistics show 120 homicides from Jan. 1 through April 1, compared with 75 over the same period in 2011.  In August alone more than 55 homicides were recorded, making August the deadliest month of the year.

At the very least a “State of Emergency” should have been declared in Chicago.

How is it that only days after Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel asked for federal grants and U.S. Marshals to help combat the city’s wave of violence, about 50 Chicago police officers were sent to Charlotte to work perimeter security details for a week at the Democratic National Convention.  The police officers were also instructed not to talk with reporters about their out-of-town assignment.

As Rev. Acree of the Greater St. John Bible Church in Chicago told the Wall Street Journal last week, “I would love to know the logic behind the decision to send them there given all that is happening her in Chicago.”Chicago police-union officials likewise questioned sending the 50 officers to Charlotte.

“We had two homicides and dozens of shootings this weekend, and we’re sending officers out of the city?” said Pat Camden, a spokesperson for the Chicago Fraternal Order of Police.  I think the average person would shake his head over that.”

Officials in Chicago argued that the officers were “on their days off and were not pulled off the street,” and noted that their salaries are being paid by a federal grant that was made for convention security.

Still one might ask whether this is relevant.  As a city that should rightly be in a  state of an emergency, shouldn’t all the officers available be employed to try to get a handle of Chicago’s staggering murder rate.  If those officers are available for duty in North Carolina, why couldn’t they be asked to work overtime in Chicago?

Instead fifty Chicago police men, as did Mayor Emanuel, departed for Charlotte and the Democratic Convention.  Emanuel’s mission was to speak for Obama’s re-election.  In doing so Mayor Emanuel seemed unchalent about the almost daily murders taking place in Chicago.  After all, didn’t Mayor Emanuel act by calling for federal grants and U.S. marshals to help combat Chicago’s violence days before his departure?

Could it be that Union rules were at play?  Labor costs of unionized officers have become prohibitive, as have labor costs for all who are members of public sector unions.

Could labor costs also have been a factor for the substantial reduction in the police budget by Mayor Emanuel?  About a thousand officers retired over the last two years, but only about 200 have been hired.

Although Mayor Emanuel returned to Chicago the day after he spoke at the Democratic Convention (9/4), he claimed that his speedy return was not related to Chicago’s out-of-control crime wave, or even the pending Chicago teachers’ strike, but to host a watch party for campaign staffers who could not make it to the Democratic Convention in Charlotte.

Perhaps if the violence were taking the lives of white children, there would be much more of an urgency by Mayor Emanuel to end the carnage?   Instead, it is young African American and Latino bodies that are fueling Chicago growing murder rate.


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