Stating Chicago’s police force is obligated to be “less confrontational and more conversational,” Mayor Rahm Emanuel presented a series of policing reforms at a Wednesday afternoon press conference.
Aimed at reviving confidence in Chicago’s law enforcement, the new reforms include: Increasing the number of police officers armed with Tasers from 700 to 1,400, instruction on the proper use of the device and further training to prevent confrontations with citizens.
The revisions to police procedure and training follow a series of fatal shootings; one incident, which took the lives of two in Chicago’s Garfield Park neighborhood, occurred as recently as December 26.
In his announcement of the new police formula, Emanuel stated:
“All of us will accept nothing less than complete and total reform of both the system and policing culture here in the city of Chicago. Just because you train that you can use force doesn’t mean you should, and helping officers have that distinction ‒ and the training that goes with it ‒ is essential.”
“Our police officers have a very difficult and dangerous job. They put their lives on the line so the rest of us can be safe. And like all of us, they are human and they make mistakes. Our job is to reduce the chances of mistakes.”
“That requires us to give them the right guidance, the right training, and the right culture, to prevent abuses. Willful misconduct and abuse cannot and will not be tolerated. Force should be the last option and not the first choice.”
While embracing the addition of Tasers to law enforcement’s standard equipment, Chicago police union president, Dean Angelo, cast doubt on the likelihood the new strategy would materially transform current police tack when confronting violent or deadly conditions.
“This is not something officers will have to get used to doing because they do it every day,” said Angelo.
Criminal behavior is also willful misconduct.
Mr. Emanuel’s address had the unmistakable aura of an invitation to Chicago’s criminal elements to effectuate more crime.
Chicago’s law enforcement community is not comprised of licensed bandits in desperate need of restraint. On the contrary, instead of a sharp rebuke issued to criminals warning the city’s sinister component of the hazards of infringing civil and criminal code, Chicago’s citizens were treated to a veiled admonition of police and a new policy with supplementary checks on the pillars entrusted with the protection of the obedient.
Mr. Emanuel labors under the delusion these minor policy and training adjustments will earn sensational reductions in crime and morph the city’s crime-ridden neighborhoods into bucolic paradises. Such fantasizing is, of course, frenetic hogwash.
What Chicago deserved was an energetic defense of law enforcement and an expanded account for the police response which, unfortunately, led to the deaths of at least one innocent person, Bettie Jones, on December 26.
In the absence of what was necessary, the vilification campaign targeting police will persist, directed by the mayor’s citizen handmaidens masquerading as righteous anti-crime warriors, many of whom dismiss police instinct as shrouded racism or a cheap form of intelligence and seek to fan the flames of anti-police feeling.
A more practical effort to re-fine the system would be for Mayor Emanuel to carefully consider the elimination of special “liaisons” to minority communities. Although portrayed as essential functions for outreach and facilitating orderly administration of a large city, these positions are misemployed and fail to advance legitimate grievances to City Hall.
These “liaisons” and their appendages, typically community organizations which have earned reputations filled with anti-police invective, forsake valid policing, are chronically hostile to law and order, and persist in designating police officers as “pigs.” Their rhetoric offers a deeply-pessimistic assessment of both the motives and strategies practiced by the Chicago Police Department.
Terminating these liaisons will not force putative civic-minded individuals or organizations from continuing their baseless attacks on law enforcement; however, it will deny them a platform within City Hall to bark at police.
For good measure, Emanuel tossed in a reference to the duty police perform, but failed to regard the impact of his words. Stale and unoriginal, the cliché Emanuel offered was timeworn and not likely to be interpreted as sincere by rank-and-file given the fact these new measures are a subtle assault on effective policing.
Tough anti-crime measures would be more welcome as would harsh words for the opponents of law and order.
Fighting for his political life and catering to the complaints of the eternally unsatisfied, Mayor Emanuel accomplished one goal: By weakening law enforcement, he handed a victory to lawbreakers and created a constituency of criminals as a new voting bloc.
[RT News] [Reuters] [The Guardian] [Photo courtesy dailybeast.com]