Even the most passive observer of the administration of justice in Chicago can recognize the level of influence the Fraternal Order of Police union, (FOP), has among the media and policymakers in Chicago. The FOP represents the thousands of Chicago Police Department patrol officers.
The FOP does not have a history in Chicago that would make anyone believe for a second that they would be a serious partner in finding a solution to the ever growing gap between the police and the communities they serve in Chicago.
Union officials will scoff at this saying that they have a legal obligation to represent the interests of their membership. For this they are correct. The problem comes when the FOP can never admit an officer did anything abusive or illegal no matter the how high the mountain of evidence.
Example: The current FOP leadership still to today will argue the Van Dyke shooting was within the Chicago Police Department guidelines.
The inability to admit mistakes and poor decisions by their members limits the ability of the FOP to advocate for reforms that would lead to meaningful changes in the working conditions of the thousands of other members whose interests they supposedly represent. Every act of misconduct and poor decision making by officers is an opportunity to learn about changes that can be made to reduce the likelihood other officers will commit the same actions. If you can never admit any officer you ever represent has been abusive or made poor choices you will never learn from their actions.
Also, the FOP leadership seems to be under the belief that not a single person has ever been wrongfully convicted in Chicago. Instead they have manufactured for themselves a massive conspiracy theory that includes the Chicago media being secretly aligned with the civil rights lawyers in town.
I have a slightly different view of where the media's allegiance swings if your interested in reading about it.
We are also engaged in a special project to use social science research methods to measure how police are portrayed in the Chicago media. If you are interested in volunteering 3-5 hours a week to help us out with this from the comfort of your home drop me a line.
So this is the reality that motivated our organization to start what we are calling FOP Watch. We intend when possible to post once a week and highlight the rhetoric and conspiracies being spun by the organization and its leadership both in the media and on social media.
Our first offering posted today from Brendan McGovern. You can find it here: “FOP Watch: Update on FOP Response to Boudreau case“
If you want to submit us tips or content for this effort you can email us at FOPWatch@chicagojustice.org.