In a not so surprising move, Chicago's Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson has announced that he is retiring at the end of the year. Say what you want about Eddie and many people do, it's impossible not to, in such a high profile job. Balancing the rank and file, the Political Magpies, the Social Justice Warriors, the Press, and the demands of special interest groups whose lively hood is attacking and seconding guessing cops every decision can wear any person down. Even to the point of treating an intersection in the Brideport neighborhood as a Holiday Inn.
I'd like to add that I knew Eddie as a young Cop working Chicago's streets. He was a really good street cop and a decent person to boot. He lived his entire life in Chicago and was born and raised in the Cabrini Green Public Housing Projects. His experience was far-reaching both as a Street Cop and Command officer. An ideal person for the job most would say. Hell, he never even applied for the job. Mayor Rahm Emanuel (skirted) another word for VIOLATED, a City ordinance to pluck Eddie out of the local ranks. When he first took over in April of 2016, of course, Chicago's unprecedented violence was already underway and to be honest, through no fault of his leadership. 2016 ended with 808 Souls murdered and over 4380 shot. Indeed his predecessor Garry McCarthy who was fired by Mayor Emanuel has to wear the collar for that and here's why.
When Rahm Emanuel was running for Mayor he promised 1,000 more cops would be added to Chicago's streets to fight crime. Most people including the press assumed he meant the hiring of 1,000 new cops. WRONG. He ordered Gary McCarthy his new Police Superintendent to add 1,000 cops at the district level to fight crime in the neighborhoods.
In order to fulfill the Mayors promise the Top Cop disbanded the Specialized units (duh they were working the neighborhoods) including the Citywide Gang Crimes units who kept intelligence and surveillance on the Citys gangs. He then cleared out all the Cops working administrative duties, some who had not been on the street for decades and placed them into districts with the Specialists to answer dog bite calls and domestic disturbances. Some would not have known a Gang Banger from Sammy Sosa, but by God, the Mayor kept his promise.
Since McCarthy was new to the City it probably never occurred to him just how much of a blunder this was, and consequently, there was no push back to Emanuel's nonsensical order. With no Gang Specialists pressing the gangs they became embolden and the City exploded with open warfare and the dead and the wounded reached a decade high. When the Mayor decided to close several Chicago Public Schools there were no Gang Specialists to advise him that in doing so Children had to cross gang boundaries which at times is a death sentence in some neighborhoods. Then Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis named Emanuel 'MAYOR MURDER" Once the schools were closed the City was forced to hire a force called "Safe Passage Workers", costing the taxpayers millions of dollars to hire security to walk children to and from school safely.
Immediately the Police Department implemented a program called VRI (violence reduction initiative ) whereby off duty cops were hired at time and a half pay on their days off to post up in the neighborhoods where the violence was at its peak. This program cost the City taxpayers over 100 million dollars yearly for several years. Then we started to get the cries of "the Community has to trust the police in order to get cooperation to stop the killings and shootings." Any Cop who has worked Chicago's streets and is involved with the gangs will tell you at times you do feel for some of those Gang members, they were brought up in a dog-eat-dog world but one thing is for sure, until they are the next meal they are not going to talk or cooperate with Cops they do not know or trust, and that's is a direct result of those gang specialists not being there. Overtime cops who are unknown to them are not worth the risk of their lives.
As you can see by some of the photos I have added to this piece, the Politicians are already jumping into the act of who should replace Eddie Johnson. Some want an insider, others are calling for someone who no ties to the status quo. When you get someone with no ties that may sound good but you also get someone with no clue as to how unique Chicago is. Chicago has had 3 outsiders as Superintendents, the last two were clueless and had to play catch up and were both buried by politics.
A few weeks ago the highly regarded Police Research Forum found that the Chicago Police Detective Division was so lacking it needed a complete overhauling. The major flaw was when Rahm Emanuel decided to close 2 Detective Areas to meet a budget shortfall. When he did this there was no push back from Department brass, indeed after Superintendent McCarthy was fired by Mayor Emanuel he stated that his Department was often the target of CITY HALL MEDDLING. He did nothing about it because he LIKED HIS JOB AND WANTED TO KEEP IT."
Chicago's other outside Superintendent, of course, was the Great O.W Wilson who was brought in by Mayor Richard J. Daley to turn around a scandalous, corrupt, inept Department in 1959. The very first move Wilson made says in all about Chicago both then and now. HE MOVED POLICE HEADQUARTERS OUT OF CITY HALL to 1121 S, State. Wilson knew a thing or two, as they say. Politics and Policing are a noxious mix. Until a City or a Mayor realizes this Chicago will always be a second City when it comes to Policing. I hope Mayor Lightfoot is as wise as I think she is.
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