11 Questions for Jody Weis

Recently I have spent time consuming as much of the media coverage surrounding the appointment of Joey Weis as possible.  From the little I was able to glean from the coverage in the Chicago media Weis talked much more about philosophy rather than specifics.  A dangerous development because Weis is being charged with halting abuse occurring at the hands of the Chicago Police Department, a Department built on covering-up abuse and corruption.  His results must be tangible and not philosophical.  The Chicago City Council, the Chicago Police Department, and the citizens of Chicago are left without answers to how Weis will possibly accomplish all that he seeks to. As a result I began thinking about questions I would ask if given the opportunity.

  1. The contract between the City and the Fraternal Order of Police (FOP), the union that represents the officers, is currently being negotiated in secret without any input from you, the City Council, or the public?  What are your thoughts on the secret negotiations?
  2. Your ability to discipline or fire an officer within the Chicago Police Department are bound by the terms of the contract you are having no input on.  Do you believe that the issues of disciplining wayward officers should be negotiated behind closed doors or should their be more public and legislative input?  Why or why not?
  3. There are rumors that your appointment here in Chicago comes as a result of a negotiated agreement between the Justice Department and the City to stave off a consent decree being forced upon the City of Chicago with the Olympics looming.  What role did the Department of Justice play in your appointment in Chicago?
  4. Since you know little to nothing about being a police officer or managing any metropolitan police department, whom in the Chicago Police Department are you going to be depending on for information?
  5. If you are going to be as dependent as you are for insiders for your information, is an outsider really running the department or are you just a figure head for those insiders you will be relying on?
  6. What efforts will you take to insure that any wrongful convictions that have resulted from the scandal plagued Special Operations Section are reinvestigated and innocent individuals are freed from prison?
  7. Part of the scandal involving the Special Operations Section resulted from the hierarchy of the Chicago Police Department looking the other way when allegations of abuse occurred.  In the Jefferson Tap off duty fight 9 uniformed offices responded to a 911 call but then left the scene once one of those in the fight flashed his Sergeant badge.  What specifically do you plan on doing to address this culture of accepting abuse and corruption within the Chicago Police Department?
  8. Repeated scandals have plagued the Chicago Police Department over the last 5 years; many have resulted from the inaction of the hierarchy within the department.  Given this fact, are you going to be making wholesale changes at the management level within the department?  If not, why is today a new day for those at the wrong end of the abuse from the Chicago Police Department?
  9. Much of the abuse coming from the Chicago Police Department stems from patterns and practices that are authorized under the general orders of the Chicago Police Department.  What efforts will you undertake to review the current list of active general orders to see how they can be improved?
  10. Access to data and information regarding the activities of the Chicago Police Department is almost non-existent.  How do you plan on changing this to improve access for community members and researchers alike?
  11. The rank and file within the Department has always resisted external oversight over their actions; yet scandals continue to occur with little or no efforts from the Department to allow community members a level of insight in to the daily activities within the Department.  Many in crime plagued communities within this City now say they fear predators in their community less than they fear the Chicago Police.  How are you going to impact the culture within the Department that has for decades worked exclusively to cover-up abuse and corruption and how do you intend to make this process more transparent to members of every community throughout this City?

Chicago being a city of three million residents needs more than a philosophic Police Superintendent.  We are need of a person who can bring tangible results in short order.  Phil Cline’s tenure as Superintendent could be summed up with just three words, Special Operations Section.  Phil Cline established this unit and unleashed them on minority communities with no oversight.  The responsibility for their crimes should at the very least be laid partially at Cline’s feet.   That said, Weis is charged with cleaning up the mess left behind by Cline’s thugs.  Weis has yet to provide detail one about how he plans on accomplishing his goals.  One would think that being the highest paid official in town would require the ability to answer the simple questions brought to him by the City Council.  He failed to answer their questions, which leads me to believe he either does not know the answers or Daley forgot to tell him his answers.

Tracy has nearly two decades of experience researching and working within criminal justice systems. When Tracy began pursuing a career dedicate to system reform, he found that no single organization existed to promote evidence-based discussions among law enforcement agencies and the communities they serve. Recognizing that citizens in Chicago deserved the right to demand transparency in their criminal justice system, Siska established the Chicago Justice Project. He received his Master of Arts degree in Criminal Justice at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

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