The contract negotiations between the City of Chicago and the Fraternal Order of Police have been completed pending City Council approval. Through the arbitration process the officers have been provided a 10% raise over the next 5 years. Seems a perfect time for a raise considering the City is finding all kids of ways of forcing furlough days on other city employees. Maybe the biggest piece of the reporting on this issue that has mostly gone under appreciated by local pols is this little nugget from the Chicago Tribune:
“The arbitrator also noted the 16 percent offer came before the city agreed to allow officers retiring at age 55 to get full health benefits and change the standard number of consecutive days on duty so officers worked 17 fewer days a year, even if each day was half an hour longer. Had the union accepted that raise, it would not have been able to negotiate the other two benefits, Benn wrote in his decision.” (“Arbitrator rules 2% raise for Chicago cops”, Hal Dardick, Chicago Tribune, April 16th, 2010)
At a time when the City’s budget is recording record deficits the Chicago Police Department puts into place a new work schedule that provides 17 more days off with no reduction in pay and then in arbitration the cops get another 10% pay raise. Only in Chicago!
Look for a forth coming Issue Brief from CJP on this very issue in the coming months. Currently CJP is in a battle with the Chicago Police Department over whether or not the community members should know how many officers are assigned to each district and to each watch. The Chicago Police Department argues that if they release this number criminals will try to raid a district station to free their comrades. I argue that the Chicago Police Department spends over $1.2 billion on payroll expenses; thus, citizens deserve to know how they are spending public resources. The Public Access Counselor’s office within the Illinois Attorney General’s Office will make the final decision.
If I have said it once I have said it a thousand times on this blog, cops are not a deterrent. Everyone in Chicago knows that violence is going to spike when the weather warms up. The feigned outrage expressed in the media seems to be a part of the problem. Instead of pretending that you care why don’t you do your jobs? Try tracking how many jobs the Daley administration has created in these communities since last year. Also, can we try a little perspective that would require that you look at some numbers besides those delivered to you with your pre-written reports. Have the total number of shootings increased since this time last year or have the same number of shootings resulted in more fatalities? These are complicated questions whose answers will only be uncovered through real reporting. Part of the problem is that most of the white reporters in Chicago have never been to these communities let along have any real contacts within these communities. Stop playing to the readers sense of indignation and start rolling up your sleeves and doing your jobs. Your work will make a difference if you actually do it and stop relying on public officials to do it for you.
“Suburb comes out ahead in the tale of two police-beating videos”
Could you imagine the human and financial impact that could have been spared if the Chicago Police Department had done what the village of Streamwood did in this case? Close to 40 years after his first alleged torture session with a black man in Chicago, Jon Burge is going on trial for perjury and obstruction of justice. Sickening that is has taken this long for such a horrible person to come to justice, even though it could be argued that even this prosecution is but a shadow of what Burge deserves.
What to say about this particular incident? Well, I think the video speaks for itself. You can watch it below. My only comment is to wonder if the Streamwood Police and Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office are now contacting all of the individuals this man has pulled over before or arrested to look for a pattern in his behavior. Maybe they should also look into how many other cops within the department covered up for this guy. I seriously doubt that this is his very first experience at brutalizing someone. I also seriously doubt that prosecutors are looking backwards because then they might have to also look at how prosecutors failed to believe the accusations against this officer from defendants/victims. Did this guy ever testify in court about not brutalizing someone? Maybe there are a few if not a hundred or more charges of perjury waiting in this guy’s history?