FOP Watch: Taking Responsibility Not a FOP Thing

Taking responsibility for their actions is obviously something the FOP leadership and their memberships are not very good at doing. Although at the same time they are very good at making sure other are taking responsibility for their actions.

Even today the FOP still argues that:

JCPD Signon Burge never tortured anyone let along the more than 100 individuals that accused him and his officers of torture. Statistically one of the accusers is probably lying but arguing for the complete innocence of Burge in each and every case is clearly delusional.

They also argue that just about every single exoneration of someone wrongfully convicted where the Chicago Police Department (CPD) was the arresting agency is false. Every one!

The shooting of Laquan McDonald not only wasn’t a murder, but it was actually within CPD guidelines and totally justified. All 16 shots were justified!

Clearly statistics is not something that the FOP has deep training in. The organization also has a pretty long standing problem with both their officials and their members taking responsibility for their actions.

Given this context here is a recent tweet from the FOP Spokesperson Martin Preib:

This is very interesting sleight of hand that the FOP spokesman is trying to pull off. What he is trying to do here is to make the reader think that the consent decree was meant to solve all of Chicago’s issues with crime and violence within just a couple of months after going in to affect. Nobody, including Obama and Emanuel every said anything about the consent decree having this type of impact on crime and violence. This is just another examples of the FOP attempting to shift blame for crime and violence by avoiding taking responsibility for their role. Of course, none of that matters because political extremists are not restrained by facts. 

Research shows 50% of consent decrees fail in achieving their goals. There is no telling what this process will bear for Chicago but considering how incredibly poor the relationship between the community and police is in Chicago and just how ineffectual the CPD is a clearing violent crime cases (more coming in the next section) the consent decree was certainly worth doing. 

This next example is why it is soooo important that main stream media reporting upholds the highest standards possible. Their horrible reporting ends up as fuel for extremists and political opportunists to push agendas; especially when that reporting is based on applesauce

If you missed it Laura Washington had dinner with Superintendent Eddie Johnson last week and being the good stenographer she is she dutifully wrote down a statistic he cited that has absolutely no basis in reali
“The “total” clearance rate is at about 53 percent, he said. “Now that’s still not where I want it to be, but it’s still not as dire as you think.”

“The “total” clearance rate is at about 53 percent, he said. “Now that’s still not where I want it to be, but it’s still not as dire as you think.”

Chicago Sun-Times 7/20/19

Did Washington try to confirm this fact before she put it in her column?

I know this goes without saying but I did not get a response. At least here we something reporters in Chicago and the FOP has in common – failing to take responsibility for their actions.

Clearance rates are ripe for manipulation by police departments because the FBI’s guidelines allow cases to be cleared for reasons that are easily faked. Other than an actual arrest and charges being filed are here is the rather murky way officers can clear cases.

Cleared by Exceptional Means – Departments should:

  • Identified the offender. 
  • Gathered enough evidence to support an arrest, make a charge, and turn over the offender to the court for prosecution. 
  • Identified the offender’s exact location so that the suspect could be taken into custody immediately. 
  • Encountered a circumstance outside the control of law enforcement that prohibits the agency from arresting, charging, and prosecuting the offender.

You can see how the cleared by exceptional means can easily be doctored within the department to make the agency seem more effective than it really is.

Clearance rates are pretty complicated for the average person to understand. We have written about them before because the media and politicians love to use them as measures for police effectiveness. You can read more about them here.

Also, there are issues around the time frame involved and how to count clearances of cases from prior years. So lets take the year 2018 as an example. Most departments would count in the 2018 numbers a case clearance that occurred in 2018 but the murder actually occurred in 2016. See, it gets complicated very fast. Also, if you just count murders comitted and cleared in 2018 it is a little unfair to the department because murders that occur in late 2018 are most likely not going to have a chance to be cleared before the year ends.

Let me be clear I don’t think there is any way in hell that the CPD can credibly claim a 53% clearance rate no matter how doctored the numbers are. I have never heard a superintendent utter such nonsense. Here is a September 2018 USA Today story where the CPD was cited many time talking about why they have such a low clearance rate. It certainly seems to me that if the CPD rates were what Johnson says they are it would have been stated in this article.

Back to our miss-use of Washington’s reporting.

Chicago City Wire, really not sure how to categorize this website, had a post that was active on social media titled “Kim Foxx should be front and center in blame game over city’s violence, Chicago FOP says”  The post is completely without a basis in reality but for this discussion the most important piece of it is this quote they used.

““A few days later, Johnson told a crowd at Yoshi’s Café, at what Sun-Times reporter Laura Washington calls her “political salon,” that the total clearance rate is closer to 53 percent.
 
“Now that’s still not where I want it to be,” the Sun-Times quoted him as saying, “but it’s still not as dire as you think.””

Chicago City Wire 7/24/19

Chicago City Wire and the FOP are both huge proponents of letting the CPD do whatever is needed to keep crime down and that reforms are not needed especially when those reforms in any way challenge existing police practices.

The horrible journalism by Washington is empowering to agenda driven ideologues that are pushing a political agenda driven by racism and fear rather than science. Washington would have been fine using the number but should had made Johnson provide documentation to back it up. Instead the lazy stenographer empowered ideologues to attack reforms based on nothing more than applesauce.

Author: Tracy Siska

Tracy Siska is the Founder and Executive Director of the Chicago Justice Project.

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