It is pretty clear that the Sun-Times as an organization has made up its mind about whether or not we are “short” police officers. The latest propaganda piece is from Fran Spielman and is titled “Can Emanuel deliver on his promise to hire more police?”. Once again the reporting is really short on facts and really long on reinforcing an ideological perspective shared by most in the Chicago media – facts don’t matter Chicago is absolutely “short” officers. The premise is so shallow that even the most basic questions start the implosion of their house of cards.
“The police hiring surge marked a stunning turnaround for a mayor who closed three police stations; eliminated more than 1,400 police vacancies; and spent five years relying on overtime — to the tune of $116.1 million a year — to mask a manpower shortage that has mushroomed under Emanuel with police retirements outpacing hiring by 975 officers.”
- What shortage Fran?
- What number are we short from?
- Do you know the number of officers Chicago should have?
- How can you say the Mayor was masking a manpower shortage if you cannot state a number we should have?
Don’t hold your breath waiting for an answer the media does not have one. Besides Fran’s modus operandi is to take her facts from press releases so unless someone is going to write her one there is no way we are going to get an answer from her.
Fran, if you are not a regular reader here are some links to what we have written about this topic previously. It is not that complicated. Simply put you can use call for service data to determine how many officers you need and how they should be allocated by district. It is not rocket science but it certainly seems that reporting on this issue with an open mind is beyond the Chicago media’s capabilities.
Links to CJP’s previous work on staffing issue:
- Police Staffing Studies – studies from 13 jurisdictions, may within Illinois
- More on Police Manpower Debate – here is video of a panel I was on where Fraternal Order of Police state it is not their job to know how many officers the CPD needs.
- Thoughts on Chicago Tonight appearance – Chicago tonight appearance with President of the Fraternal Order of Police where they admit again they have no idea what CPD needs are for staffing.
- Police Staffing in America’s 5 Largest Cities
- Chicago Homicides & Police Personnel
Here is the National Fraternal Order of Police Executive Director Jim Pasco
““It would be extraordinarily difficult under any circumstances, and particularly difficult, given the fact that so much has been done to besmirch the reputation of the Chicago Police Department,” Pasco said.”
Ok Fran everyone has an opinion but is every opinion is worth publishing? On the list of questions he supplied you to ask him was there a follow up to request proof of a previous department that had its reputation besmirched and that it contributed to a reduction in the number of candidates that applied to join the force? If not this statement is nothing more than propaganda from another police union official. In other words, it is worthless.
It is clear that we are just stuck with an entire press corps that is convinced we need more cops and refuses to rely on science to answer this question. I do think it is interesting whether or not the city can really pump out the number of new hires the Mayor has promised. I think that is a really good topic for a serious journalist to take. Sadly I really cannot think of one in this town that hasn’t already published a crappy propaganda piece on this topic already. I am not sure why Fran reached out to Pasco but maybe she just wanted to add a slightly different flavor of crap to this story. It certainly makes it seems as if she did her job. Too bad she didn’t.