Weis beat plan disappoints pastors
BY FRANK MAIN Staff Reporterfirstname.lastname@example.org
Police Supt. Jody Weis on Saturday outlined his much-anticipated plan to move beat officers to districts that need more cops — but ministers from high-crime areas said they were disappointed by how few he planned to shift.
Weis would not give the number, saying only that “it’s not hundreds. Nobody’s that far down.”
He also would not identify the districts that need more cops.
Weis said the department last year developed a formula to identify districts that need more beat officers.
“We are really trying to balance the work load,” Weis said. “We are not pitting one part of the city against the other.”
The Rev. Marshall Hatch and other high-profile ministers gathered Friday at City Hall to demand Weis deliver on his promise to put more cops in communities with high crime rates. Hatch said he was unimpressed by the plan Weis discussed Saturday, saying that it seemed like a scant shadow of the promises the top cop made during City Council budget hearings.
“This is a real back-off from what was originally proposed,” said Hatch, pastor of the New Mount Pilgrim Missionary Baptist Church on the West Side. “This does not do enough to put officers where we need them.”
Stephen Thurston II, co-pastor of the New Covenant Baptist Church on the South Side, said Weis “lacked courage,” and the Rev. Cy Fields of the LEADERS Network said “obviously he’d rather leave quietly than make a bold and impactful move in making all of Chicago safer.”
Weis’ contract expires next month, but he’s expected to stay until the next mayor takes office in May.
A Chicago Sun-Times analysis last year showed the districts responding to the most 911 calls were on the South and West sides.
Weis said the plan recently hit a “hiccup” when the government released the latest census figures. They must be considered before shifting more beat officers, he said.
The census shows population dropped in 57 of Chicago’s 77 community areas over the past decade — with the biggest losses on the South and West sides.