Weis moving forward with plan to shift cops
By Fran Spielman City Hall Reporter January 10, 2011 8:54PM
Updated: September 24, 2012 6:25AM
Police Supt. Jody Weis is forging ahead with plans to reallocate police resources to higher-crime districts — even though all four top mayoral contenders plan to dump him and one voiced opposition to crime-fighting solutions that “divide the city.”
Ald. Anthony Beale (9th), chairman of the City Council’s Police Committee, said he talked to Weis on Monday and the embattled superintendent assured Beale he’s “moving forward” to honor a promise made and broken by at least four of his predecessors.
“This is the right thing to do. It hasn’t been done in over 30 years. Moving these resources around will give communities that need them the most a better quality of life and bring down crime numbers across the entire city,” Beale said.
“The superintendent is putting the resources where they’re needed to win the battle. Even if he’s out, this is something that needs to stay in place and we need to re-evaluate it on a yearly basis. And if it’s working, it will be virtually impossible for any mayor to undo.”
Last week, mayoral hopeful Rahm Emanuel tried to pull the rug out from under Weis’ plan to shift police resources.
Emanuel said he was determined to “find policies that unite” the city. He argued that shifting officers away from lower-crime districts in his North Side political base to higher crime South and West Side districts would only divide Chicago.
On Monday, Beale reacted angrily to Emanuel’s 11th-hour attempt to de-rail the long-awaited proposal.
“If anybody who’s running for mayor wants to have killing in one part of the city and have officers on the other side of the city not responding to any calls, that’s a problem. I will take issue with any candidate who is not interested in making every corner of this city safe,” the alderman said.
All four top mayoral contenders are vowing to dump Weis to reverse rock-bottom morale among the rank-and-file. Emanuel pointed to a “culture of preventive policing” under Weis where officers are “not doing their job because they don’t think anybody has their back.”
Beale fired back in defense of the embattled superintendent.
“For the life of me, I can’t understand why everyone is beating up on the superintendent when crime is at a 40-year low. They should be commending him and encouraging him to do more to fight crime and be creative,” Beale said.
“They’re just using the superintendent as a punching bag because of the perception that crime is running rampant. Whoever the new mayor is, if they look at the track record, they will give him ample opportunity to re-apply for the job.”
A two-year hiring slowdown has left the Chicago Police Department more than 2,300 officers-a-day short of authorized strength, counting vacancies, sick leave and limited duty.
Political pressure from aldermen who stand to lose police officers has prevented the city from redrawing the boundaries of police beats or otherwise reallocating police resources since the late 1970’s.
Weis promised the reallocation during City Council budget hearings, without saying which districts stand to lose or gain. He would only say that some districts have officers “above and beyond what analysis has proven they actually need. So, we can move some of those officers to a district where analysis has shown they need some more.”
The Fraternal Order of Police has said it intends to strictly enforce a union contract that, the union warned, could severely limit Weis’ ability to reallocate officers from one district to another.
But, Beale said, “I don’t think this is gonna interfere with the contract at all. The superintendent has a right to move resources. The superintendent has found a way to permanently move resources.”