Yes - your beloved cub reporter was at the 35th Street meeting tonight with the new Superintendent.
My overall impression of the Supe is that he's alittle over his head. He was fielding a question on how our guys are getting tools taken away from them. (ie. No more Disorderly Conduct, Reckless Conduct...etc) Those laws were one more tool that we could use to restore order to an area where mobs of trouble-makers are loitering. If we could lock up 2 or 3 of the group leaders/instigators, it would keep the area relatively calm. The Sup said that he has no control over the prosecutorial end of it and if ASAs don't want to prosecute, then we have no options.
So now these gang-bangers can stand on the corner, menace passers-by, throw up gangsigns in hopes that they can get into a fight with someone - and the police can't do anything because if we sign a complaint then we open ouselves up for lawsuits. It was bloody depressing listening to this stuff.
No Prosecutorial Support
On that note, a traffic officer stood up and recounted how an offender made allegations against this officer due to a traffic stop. Unbeknowst to the offender, the stop was recorded. When said offender got a CR# against the officer and the affidavit was signed, the officer demanded that the offender be locked up and charged with perjury and filing a false police report. The State's Attorneys response, "No way. You're lucky we don't charge YOU with something because it is on tape that you went through a red light with the offender handcuffed in the back!" J-Fed said he has no control over this situation and can do nothing about it. It is the States Attorneys bailiwick.
He started out discussing the Bill Cozzi case. (Thank You Bella!) Cozzi was the officer who jabbed a shackled offender a few times with a small, dark non-descript object. J-Fed said that that incident was "just as bad as when Rodney King got beaten in LA." Oh really? Where were the bruises? Where was the damage? Where was the long-term disability "attack" that Cozzi put on that shitbird? The fact is Cozzi did everything, and more, that was asked of him through the courts, suspensions and going before the Police Board of Review. He had (has) every right to be reinstated as a police officer.
J-Fed admitted that he personally contacted the Civil Rights office of the FBI and gave them the information on this case. Up until then Cozzi wasn't even on their radar. Thanks J-Fed! There's an encapsulated example of why morale is at an all-time low on this department.
He next talked about Merit Promotions and said that on Friday, 16-May they're going to post the name of supervisors who were promoted meritoriously. To be clear though, he said FIRST they're going to contact the merit hacks and tell them (or ask them, I don't remember) that their names are going to go public. We'll see.
For the future, he wants to set up a "Formset" so that people who believe that they'd be good sergeants or lieutenants could fill out paperwork and "apply" to be a supervisor. This would ensure people are promoted meritoriously but fairly.
An officer at 311 Callback made the point that he's been down there for 3 years and that sometimes guys are just stripped because of a boss that doesn't like them and/or a boss who freaks out on an allegation and strips the guy without a full investigation. J-Fed claims that there is some inequity in judging who gets stripped and he said that stripping sometimes goes ahead too quickly. He wants more 'common sense' applied in this respect. He promised to review the procedures.
White Shirt Retaliation
Also another officer stood up and claimed that his supervisor didn't like the standee's partner and when a brutality beef came down on the incident, the sergeant initiated the CR against the standee's partner simply because the sergeant didn't like said standee's partner. The standee had to testify in court that HE threw the offender on the hood of the car, not his partner. The point was that sometimes a white shirt will throw a guy under the bus and there is no recourse against white shirts who do this. It was a good point and the Sup said he'd look into it. He wants to set up the Inspector General's office or the IPRA to handle such complaints.
Eat, Drink and be Merry
J-Fed claims to NOT be a stickler for the Rule 14 judgements. He wants common sense installed with this "archaic" Rule and thinks it should be changed to reflect some reality. He promises that he won't go looking for Rule 14 violators - only those who commit a crime while intoxicated. And for the record, he was eating pizza down at Pizzeria Uno the night that he "allegedly" out directing traffic safety checkpoints looking for DUI cops. It is an urban myth!
Work week options
J-Fed thinks that the 6-day work week is an anachronism. He wants to have 4 tens or 3 twelves - or "any of a dozen other plans" which would be better than a 6-day work week. Here-here!!!
Boots on the Ground
There will be more hiring of police officers this year. They plan on hiring 465 officers, with an estimated attrition of 350 officers this year. That would put us up a +100 officers over last year. The burning question though: Where is everyone?
FOP confirmed that they get dues from 12,000 police officers (patrol and detectives). That's about right. So where are the 12,000 deployed? How many are at HQ, CAPS, In-district positions....?
What he didn't talk about was noticably absent : Cars, PDTs, Radios, Rifles and the day-to-day equipment stuff that we don't have right now. I have to agree with one of SCC's commentators on this TownHall meeting: It was a dog & pony show. On the one hand it was a nice gesture on his part to get to hear us critique the department and air our views, on the other hand he showed his ignorance of what we face and what we're expected to do to represent the department.
He never made any meaningful suggestion regarding improving morale, it was mostly theoretical retorts.
Time will tell - it was certainly interesting.