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Author: pvbella

Celebrate the Kachingos in the Summer of Violence

Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s administration celebrated raising 1.1 million dollars through the city’s speed cameras, set at six miles per hour over the limit. Whew, we should be glad the city raised so much money with no indication the lowered limit made us safer.

Motorists are slammed with parking tickets for expired parking boxes. We should be happy people are punished for parking too long in one spot. They must be a threat to society.

No one is looking into the systemic root causes of speeding, parking violations, and municipal theft. Minor speeding and parking violations bring in kachingos to the city. There is no reckoning over the municipal robbery happening in Chicago.

Money talks bulls**t walks in this city.

Violent crime is turning the streets across the city into war zones. This administration is stumbling and bumbling along over this violent summer. Bringing in the kachingos is more important than public safety and human life. So, celebrate City Hall. You earned it. Break out the champagne and pop the corks.

People are being shot almost every two minutes and murdered nearly every 11 minutes in Chicago. Armed and strong-armed robberies are up. There were nearly 1000 carjackings this year. Violent crimes do not bring in the kachingos, so no one at City Hall cares. Even if they reduced violent crime, there would be no celebration. No dough, no party.

1967 was the Summer of Love. 2021 is the Summer of Violence. The root causes given for these crimes are lame excuses and alibis. The city and supposed experts have no idea why this year is so violent. It is unfortunate, so many people believe the “experts.”

The people committing these crimes run the gamut of formerly incarcerated people, street gang members, drug dealers, parolees, people out on probation, low bonds or electronic monitoring, young groups of men and women, teens, and pre-teens. Many are committing their first crimes, including murders.

The murder and shooting victims range from senior citizens to infants. There is no reckoning for them.

The city is solving the perilous six miles per hour over the limit speeders and is successfully raking in the money. They are cracking down on the parkers, who are a dangerous threat to others looking for a parking space. These are the systemic root causes of bringing kachingos into the city’s coffers.

City Hall cannot curb the violence plaguing Chicago. There is no money in that. In the city of Chicago, cash is king. It is more valuable than life. So, celebrate with City Hall. Celebrate with the people robbing and stealing from the citizes. Celebrate they are not killing or wounding people for the money.

We know the systemic root causes of crime in Chicago. They are municipal greed and apathy.

Party hearty Mayor Lightfoot.

Who Speaks for the Dead

Image: PV Bella

“We speak for the dead,” was a saying among homicide detectives and Forensic Services personnel on the Chicago Police Department. No one else speaks for the dead in Murder City.

The saying means they would move heaven and earth to get justice for murder victims. The mayors and alderpersons do not speak for the dead. The State’s Attorney’s Office does not speak for the dead. The courts do not speak for the dead. The local news media does not speak for the dead.

We are in the middle of August. As of yesterday, 270 victims were shot, 44 were killed. From Friday through Sunday, 47 victims were shot and 5 were killed, including two purported mass shootings. 

On Sunday a 7-year-old child was murdered, in the Belmont Central neighborhood while sitting in a parked car. Her 6-year-old sister is fighting for her life. The death toll of children, down to toddlers and infants is heartbreaking.

Every single murder victim was a son, daughter, father, mother, brother, sister, niece, nephew, cousin, or grandparent. The families of the dead mourn, grieve and suffer the loss of a loved one. No matter their past or present transgressions, no one deserves to be murdered. Too many are innocent bystanders. 

The dead and their families cry out for justice. Justice is denied. Detectives, forensic investigators, and street cops are stretched thin. They are overwhelmed. There are not enough of them to investigate, close cases, make arrests, and take them to trial.

Our elected officials sit on the sidelines offering nothing. There is no plan. There is failure after failure.

Communities live in fear of retaliation if they cooperate with the police. No one is safe. No neighborhood is safe. Good people want to help, but not at the expense of their lives or the lives of their loved ones. 

How many more people must be killed before someone says enough is enough? 

Forget about the root causes of crime, the systemic this or that, faulting parents, and other phony issues ginned up by alleged experts with no expertise or whack jobs on social media.

It is past time to change the conversation. It is past time for aldermen, especially aldermen whose wards are most affected by the violence to step up. They are as responsible as the mayor for public safety.

We need more people to speak for the dead. The Chicago Police Department needs more detectives and forensic specialists. We need a prosecutor who is willing to prosecute crimes instead of nit-picking detectives to provide more and more and more evidence.

We need the courts to stop releasing dangerous people out on low or recognizance bonds. Electronic monitoring is failing.

Chicago elected officials are losing credibility every day in this Summer of Violence. Talk is cheap. Phony raw emotions will not abate the murder and mayhem. We need people to speak for the dead, in the communities, in City Hall, in the State’s Attorney’s office, and in the courts.

Either be part of the solution or get the hell out of the way.

Chicago Retail Politics

Image: PV Bella

Today is Sunday. At 8:30 this morning, my mail carrier delivered the mail. It got me thinking about retail politics. Retail politics is the political religion in Chicago. Mayor Richard J. Daley was responsible for creating the Church of Retail Politics, hence the phrase, “Chicago is the city that works.” He and his successors spoiled the citizens. We not only expect city services, we demand them, especially when there are blips.

The worst thing a city employee can tell citizens is there is nothing they can do. They find a way to resolve the issue fast.

Citizens want, demand, and expect 24/7/365:

  • Police, fire, and EMS to show up yesterday when called
  • The streetlights on at night
  • Uninterrupted utilities
  • Public health and sanitation
  • Safe and efficient public transportation
  • Scheduled garbage pick-up
  • Clean streets
  • Good schools
  • Good and safe parks
  • Potholes fixed
  • Snow plowed in the winter
  • Flood control
  • Consumer protection
  • Safe buildings
  • Safe roads
  • Tree trimming
  • Mail delivery
  • Quick removal of debris after major storms
  • Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, and glitter spewing unicorns

Alderpersons and the mayor will not survive if the basic city and other services are interrupted too long or too often. People in charge of agencies, utilities, and even the Chicago Postmaster General shudder when the phone rings, and it’s an alderperson or the mayor on the other end.

Thanks to improving communications technology, service interruptions are mitigated fast and efficiently. Toward the end of my police career, it was not unusual to see a commissioner, department head, alderperson, or other executive show up for some major issue in the wee morning hours. During major emergencies, the who’s who of politics and utility executives showed up on the scene.

I used to work out with one of former Mayor, Richard M. Daley’s bodyguards. He regularly told me if they were driving through the city and Daley saw something amiss, he got on the phone and made sure the problem was resolved ASAP, sometimes yelling and swearing.

No one cares about the political ideology of the mayor or alderpersons when it comes to services. Rightwing, leftwing, progressive, socialist, whatever. They may get elected spewing weasel words drafted by weasels. If they fail to resolve, implement, or create city services, Chicago’s retail bread, and butter, they will not get re-elected.

Some alderpersons do not get this. It is more critical for them to wax ideologically, attend protests, be in solidarity, and down with whatever cause of the day or hour is. Some of these alderpersons represent distressed wards where things are deteriorating every day. They are blind to the needs of the people in their quest to be right on their petty ideological issues versus serving the public.

The mayor is the CEO of the Chicago Retail Store. The alderpersons are the regional managers. Most do a good to fair job. Others are so far in the weeds they cannot see a two-story building. These are wards suffering from decades of economic and social neglect. Nothing changes except, sometimes, the alderperson.

Chicago is suffering from a long hot summer of rampant violent criminality. The mayor is just about the only one discussing it. We hear crickets from too many alderpersons. The mayor may be the one responsible. In Chicagoese, she wears the hat. But the alderpersons are just as responsible. They are supposed to work with the police commanders in their wards to ensure people are safe. Many would rather spout nonsense instead of common sense. Some would not be caught dead, seen with a member of the police department.

My former alderperson was AWOL for six of his eight terms in office. His successor is hands-on. He is also feet on as he walks through the ward. When he sees something, he says something. He gets on the phone to resolve the issue. I may disagree with his political views, but he is doing what the people of this ward want, ensuring city services are ongoing.

Never listen to the political horse manure alderpersons spout. Look at what they do. Weasel words are meaningless. Action is the only thing that counts. We have a responsibility to hold alderpersons’ feet under the fire. If they get complacent or talk, we need to demand, loudly, more from them. If not, no matter how “beloved” they are, we organize and raise money to vote them out. That is the Chicago Way.


Image: PV Bella

We are the champions, my friends
And we’ll keep on fighting till the end
We are the champions
We are the champions
No time for losers
‘Cause we are the champions of the World
(Queen Music Limited)

“In the month of August, the US has so far reported more than 1.5 million new cases of Covid-19, more than three times the numbers for Iran and India — which now hold second and third place, JHU data shows. And the seven-day average has topped more than 135,000 cases, well ahead of other nations.” 

Yep, the good ole USA is number one. We are on top. We are beating other nations and beating them bad. Cry freedom. God, guns, apple pie, mom, sex, drugs, rock and roll, and COVID make us the top dogs in the world. WOOF, WOOF, WOOF!

We must celebrate those good ole southern patriots who gave our nation of freedom lovin, God fearin, people this distinction. The South finally rose agin, makin ‘Merica NUMBA ONE. Git them gold medals ready. Break out the bands and fireworks. There oughta be ticker-tape parades in our major cities for these selfless American heroes.

How did our nation get this honor? Freedom! We are born free, and we will die free, from COVID.

Our nation owes a debt of gratitude to Louisiana for the highest number of cases per capita, followed by Florida. In Alabama, there is a surge in teenagers and children coming down with COVID. They are suffering some of the worst symptoms. God shine his blessings on Team Bama and the COVID Tide for standing tall against dictatorship.

COVID cases are spreading fast across the south and southwest regions of the nation. These are regions where people only worship and fear God, not the false idol, so-called science.

Yep, folks, those good ole boys and gals made us proud. This is what freedom is all about. The great ‘Merican experiment of a free country is a proven success. A free people have the God givin right to suffer and die a horrible death. Freedom is ringing out across the south and southwest. Hot damn, Bubba! I git goosebumps over the pride I feel of being number one.

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis should get the Congressional Medal of Freedom for helping to put our country in the number one position for his promotion of freedom. He is the voice of freedom in this nation, tilting towards dictatorship. DeSantis is the epitome of freedom-loving leaders. He took a stand, stood his ground, and is still standing tall and proud. That, people, is what ‘Merican Way is all about.

While most of the nation followed experts in infectious diseases, DeSantis and other elected officials got their information scrolling through their cell phones while sitting on the toilet or in the outhouse. This proves the great American axiom, “Some of the best and brightest ideas come while sittin and s**tin.

Who needs masks, distancing, and vaccines? As one of the great philosophical sages of Congress, Marjorie Taylor Greene, stated the other day, “We can’t live forever.” Man, that gal sure talks pretty. We all gonna die is the red, white, and blue biblical truth. Wrap her in Bubble Wrap Stars and Stripes and put her on the cover of a magazine or in a tire company pin-up calendar. Greene should be the spokeswoman for Kohler or Glacier Bay. Dang, and ain’t that Senator, Rand Paul sumptin. He should be the poster boy for Charmin.

I, for one, am embarrassed and ashamed to live under the dictatorship of Chicago, where masking was mandated and still is in some situations. I am ashamed those vaccinations are so rampant. I do not feel like a red-blooded patriot who does not want to live forever. I am ashamed to admit I submitted to wearing the dreaded mask, got vaccinated, and kept away from my fellow Americans. I feel sullied that I did not love my country enough to fight, suffer, and die for freedom.

It is embarrassing that Chicago, with its stellar medical institutions, could be so far behind the COVID curve. We should be number one. We should be the winners. But, no, we did not listen to the toilet bowl and outhouse experts. We followed the “science.”

There is something very wrong in this country when red-blooded patriots are willing to suffer and die for freedom while the rest live in dictated safety. Those southerners from Louisiana and Florida and the rest of the South and Southwest are the true frontline heroes, fighting to keep freedom alive, suffering and dying for our country. Elected officials like DeSantis and Texas Governor Greg Abbot are the toilet bowl and outhouse generals leading the charge to keep freedom alive and giving the death knell to dictatorship.

God bless America, God bless those sick and dying heroes, God bless their leaders for making America number one.


Mayor Lightfoot Lost the Benefit of the Doubt

Image: PV Bella

“I think our media plays a very important role in our democracy, but you lose me, you lose me when it’s a race to the bottom and it’s all about the fight and it’s all about the conflict,” she said. “I’ve got to tell you, some of the reporting I’ve seen this week is just sickening. We all need to ask ourselves what we can do better to show our people everywhere that we have the capacity to be human beings again.” (Chicago MayorLori Lightfoot)

We try to give public officials the benefit of the doubt, hoping they will do right by us. We want to trust what they say.  We try to have confidence they have the public’s best interest at heart. Even though this is Chicago, where politics, public service, and press conferences are tall tales.

For the most part, the local news media gives officials a wide berth with the benefit of the doubt. They only pile on in disbelief when things go south. Scandals turn the news media into swarming tabloid sharks looking for blood in the water. It lasts for a while, then things return to normal, the benefit of the doubt returns.

Mayor Lori Lightfoot was skating on thin ice for the benefit of the doubt department. She finally lost that benefit this week. So did Superintendent of Police David Brown and First Deputy Superintendent Eric Carter.

During a press conference on the city budget, the mayor criticized the reportage over the events that played out after the tragic murder of Officer Ella French. She needs to be right, and she will be right, no matter how wrong she is. The press must report her correct(ed) version of events versus the facts. She also told reporters to check or be careful of their sources.

The mayor claimed the press lost her. She has it backward. She lost the press. She, like mayors before her, is trying to bully the news media. It is not going to work. She lost the benefit of the doubt of some alderpersons, who she needs to get things done.

Mayor Lightfoot lost the rank and file of the Chicago Police Department, their families, and all the people they have influence over. That is tens of thousands of voters. David Brown and Eric Carter lost the credibility that they are competent or compassionate.

Crime is rampant and out of control all over Chicago. Murder, mayhem, carjackings, robberies, and other crimes are several times a day occurrences. According to HeyJackass, which interprets hard data about crime, a person is shot every 1:56. A person is murdered every 10:44. So far this year, 2774 people were shot. Firearms killed 475.

Lightfoot and Brown sailed along on the benefit of the doubt granted by citizens and the news media. They were given a wide swath of the benefit of the doubt for too long. We ate up the excuses, gangs, guns, drug dealers. The pandemic. Root causes. Systemic somethings or other. We listened or read their well-crafted words created by PR weasels. We tried hard to believe, even though things kept getting worse.

By the way, Lightfoot claimed that Eric Carter was not a member of “Friends and family.” He worked and earned his position. This was not only a lie, it was a laughable lie. No First Deputy Superintendent of the Chicago Police Department is appointed by their resume. They all had clout. They all knew or were related to one or more powerful people. They all were part of the friends and family club.

When the lies were refuted, the mayor doubled down, covering for Carter. It only got worse. Superintendent Brown got an earful at a gathering of police officers in McCormick place. He claimed he heard their complaints, understood their anger, and did what he always does, nothing. Brown is a good listener and slick talker. Those are his only two qualities.

Chicago Police Officers are overworked, twelve-hour days with days off canceled over and over again. They are discouraged, frustrated, and stressed to the maximum. There is no morale left. The esprit de corps is broken. They only have each other. They cannot rely on their executive leadership or City Hall.

These were the bitter end to benefit the doubt for the mayor, Brown, and Carter. The cops do not believe them, and too many citizens, especially family members of violent crime victims, do not believe them.

Lori Lightfoot won 49 out of 50 wards when she ran for mayor. She lost many of those wards over her conduct this past year. If she decides to run again, her chances of winning reelection are slim.

Lightfoot’s only credible bright spot was her handling of the COVID pandemic. Unlike other big-city mayors, she made the hard decisions early, shutting the city down. She worked with the governor, partnering her health experts with his. She remained calm in the face of rising cases and deaths. When she disagreed with the governor, she did not turn it into a war of words. Her mandates kept us healthy, for the most part. If she ran the rest of the city the way she managed the pandemic, she might still have the benefit of the doubt.

Mayor Lightfoot Defended the Indefensible

Rituals are important. Part of the ritual for a police officer or firefighter killed in the line of duty is to have an honor guard and bagpipers march the ambulance from the street into the receiving dock of the Office of the Cook County Medical Examiner’s facility.

The ritual is not just to honor the officer. It is for the personnel lining up to salute their fallen comrade. More important, it is for the family. I say again. The ritual is FOR THE FAMILY.

First Deputy Superintendent, Eric Carter, tried to cancel part of the ritual for fallen Officer Ella French. “We can’t wait for the bagpipers. We don’t have 20 minutes to wait for this s**t.”

Carter turned the ritual into “This s**t.”

Mayor Lori Lightfoot defended Carter. How does one defend the indefensible?

“There was no official honor guard that night. There was, let me choose my words carefully, [a] well-meaning but not well-organized group that wanted to hijack the procession. Which would have meant that the family would have been delayed exponentially in getting to the morgue,” the mayor said.” (Chicago Sun-Times)

“Given the new restrictions that the new coroner has put in place, that wouldn’t have been fair to them. … So, a call was made under those circumstances to focus on the family. Eric Carter made the right call. I support what he did. And I’m horrified that, in this moment, people are trying to savage him for whatever agenda or purpose.” (Chicago Sun-Times)

The Medical Examiner’s office refuted the mayor’s statement. By the way, there is no coroner in Cook County. The position was changed to the Office of the Medical Examiner in the mid-1970s. Details matter. Just like Superintendent Brown’s mistake in calling Officer French Ella Fitzgerald twice.

Either Eric Carter lied to the mayor, or the mayor lied to the citizens to cover up for Carter. The citizens of Chicago should be horrified that Carter is being lionized for his disrespect and dishonor to Officer Ella French and her family by the mayor.

These rituals are carefully planned in detail well in advance. The honor guard procession is part of that meticulous plan. It has been for years. Some mysterious rogue group did not hijack the plan. There was no agenda or purpose. There was only a meticulous plan. 

Eric Carter deserves to be “savaged.” Eric Carter decided things were taking too long for his taste. It had nothing to do with regards to the family or Medical Examiner protocols. That is just a fabrication to justify his dishonorable impatience.

A story was concocted to make Carter look like he was doing the right thing, the noble thing. That is all it is, a fairy tale. Chicago is a city of tall tales when people get caught doing something they should not do. It is all “Once upon a time” and “Twas a dark and stormy night.” There is a happy ending for the disreputable.

The rituals are important. Eric Carter knew this. The mayor should know this. There was no need to bum rush things that fateful night. The planned ritual should have played out. The family should have witnessed the honor afforded their daughter, Officer Ella French.

Lightfoot’s tall tale cut the last thread of morale that was left in the Chicago Police Department. By defending the indefensible, mayor Lori Lightfoot lost the Chicago Police and Fire Department members, the retirees, and the people they are connected to.

Police officers are angry. Their families are angry. The retired cops are angrier than usual. On election day, if Lightfoot runs, we will vote with our anger.

God forgets and forgives. We never forget the fallen. We never forget the disrespect given to our fallen. We never forgive those who dishonored our fallen. We will never forgive or forget Eric Carter. We will never forgive or forget Mayor Lori Lightfoot for defending his dishonorable behavior.

The Chicago Police Department has no more time for Eric Carter’s s**t. Carter is devoid of honor. His actions that night were despicable. The rank and file no longer have confidence in him. When leaders lose the confidence of their subordinates, they cannot lead.

Carter should do the honorable thing and resign or retire for his dishonorable behavior. If he lied to the mayor, he should be fired from his position, reducing him to his former rank.

Ella French is a hero. The missteps over her death, from calling her Ella Fitzgerald twice to denying her an honor guard is horrific. 

It appears that Dumb and Dumber are running the Chicago Police Department. We need smarter people to lead the members of the Chicago Police Department.

She is Not Ella Fitzgerald

Cue Card fpr Davod Brown/Image PV Bella

Just when you thought the Chicago clown show could not get worse, Chicago Police Superintendent, David Brown, could not get the name of a fallen police officer right during a press conference. He referred to her as Ella Fitzgerald, not once, but twice. What next? Etta James? Ellie Mae Clampet?

You can see the gaffes at the 3:07 and 5:42 mark of the video.

Her name is Officer Ella French. OFFICER ELLA FRENCH!

Brown embarrassed himself and outraged the rank and file. They expressed their outrage on social media. Even Cook County State’s Attorney, in name only, Kim Foxx lashed out on Twitter.

Maybe Deadeye Brown should have a staff member face him at the podium with large hand-lettered cue cards, so he knows what to say like they for talk show hosts.

The night of the shooting, as the police honor guard was preparing to lead the ambulance into the Medical Examiner’s facility, Brown’s Mini-Me Minion, First Deputy Superintendent, Eric Carter, was caught on video trying to rush things along, saying, “We’re not waiting for the bagpipes. We don’t have time for this shit.” Yeah, he said it. He wanted Officer Ella French to get the bum’s rush so he could go back to the bed he was roused from.

Police officers are outraged over the latest gaffes from their supposed leaders. They single-handedly destroyed what little shred of morale is left in the department. Insult to injury to utter and laughable stupidity reigned over this tragic, heartbreaking incident. 

Not one senior staff member of the police department attended the bond hearing for the two accused offenders yesterday. No else from the city, including alderpersons or staff members, attended the hearing.

The list of gaffes by this clown show is embarrassing. Police leaders are not supposed to be embarrassing. Officers are rightfully angry over this. They risk their lives every hour of every day, and they get kicked in the teeth by their leaders.

Mayor Lori Lightfoot cannot let this clown show go on. The ratings are in negative territory. Pay off Brown’s contract and send him packing. Force Carter out. We will wish them ill on their way out of the door.

There is plenty of senior staff in the Chicago Police Department to step up and do those two jobs. Stop doing nationwide searches for incompetent mercenary police executives. Enough is enough. Each one in Chicago was and is a failure. 

A department is mourning and grieving. A city is metaphorically burning as we go into the 150th anniversary of the Great Chicago Fire. People are dying and suffering from unchecked rampant criminality. Now, the Chicago Police Department men and women are left knowing their boss, and his number two do not care a wit about them.

When is enough going to be enough? Lightfoot bears the responsibility for the gaffes. She bears the responsibility for the murder, mayhem, havoc, and criminality plaguing this city. She hired Brown and probably approved Carter.

She needs to act swiftly. We can no longer wait for the next failing plan. Time is running out. Citizens across this city are fed up. Our police officers are demoralized, sad, and angry.

Public safety is the number one responsibility of the Mayor and City Council. Yet, there are over a dozen anti-police alderpersons. Many are represent wards with the highest poverty, crime, and violence. Like all good extremists, all they do is flap their soup coolers. They propose nothing of substance. Most do zero for their constituents.

Communities where violence is most rampant, are demanding better. Their pleas fall on deaf ears at City Hall. The communities know their alderpersons do not care about them. It was this way for decades. Now, it is getting beyond worse. The grim reaper piper is being paid in blood and death.

It is time to send Sheriff Deadeye back where he came from. It is time to put people in charge of the police department who know what they are doing. We need those who know the city, worked the streets, and know the communities. We do not need another dunderhead mercenary from someplace else who has no clue.

The circus does not have to come to town. Chicago is the circus.

Failure is an Option in Chicago

Image: PV Bella

Lori Lightfoot lost the confidence of the Chicago Police Department rank and file, the men and women who work the streets every day. Her police superintendent, David Brown, is an abject failure. When you lose the confidence of your public safety and emergency service personnel, you have a big problem.

The streets of Chicago are a war zone and Wasteland, like a post-apocalyptic movie. The criminals are in charge. Gangs, drug dealers, and other criminal groups, small and large, are wreaking murder, mayhem, and havoc every day in every neighborhood. 

Chicago police officers are overworked, beyond tired, and demoralized. They cannot make good decisions and solve problems under these highly stressful conditions. The cops are warning the city. The city could care less. Chicago is a town without pity. It does not care about its emergency service personnel or the citizens, who are being victimized daily.

If David Brown and his command staff demand police officers work long hours with no or few days off, they should do the same. The concept of rank having privilege has its limits. They should lead by example or leave.

According to the Chicago Police Department, discipline is meted out as an educational tool, not punishment. Under the COPA regime, discipline is pure punishment, and it is slammed hard. They severely punish officers for legitimate actions, like stopping people visibly wearing firearms. COPA does not punish to educate. COPA punishes for punishment’s sake.

Why would any police officer want to do proactive policing under these horrific conditions? Why would they risk their life, job, or freedom? The Chicago Police Department is a toxic work environment. The buck stops on the mayor’s desk. She is wearing the hat. She can change course, but she won’t. Lori Lightfoot is stubbornly clinging to failure.

Police officers have no faith that this city has their best interests at heart or the citizens’ best interests. They are living in despair. Every day they go to a job they are afraid to do properly. Every day they are looking over their shoulders in fear of retribution. Every day they are tired, mentally, physically, and emotionally. This is a recipe for disaster.

The mayor is responsible for this cataclysm. Her superintendent is inept. He proved time and time again he is out of his element. Chicago is not Dallas. It is not some sleepy cowpoke town. 

The people in this city no longer feel safe. There are no safe places left. 

The mayor is losing the faith of many alderpersons whose constituents and businesses are fed up. Some of these aldermen have been calling for changes. Their demands fall on deaf ears.

There are over a dozen alderpersons who are anti-police. Maybe the police detail that protects these elected officials at City Hall should be disbanded. Social workers could replace them. Many of these alderpersons represent some of the most dangerous wards.

No one wants to live in fear. People are speaking out. Lori Lightfoot is deaf to even the most common-sense solutions.

Crime is out of control. You cannot fight crime with press conferences like David Brown is doing. Chicago needs a reset. The mayor must wake up to the reality that she lost this city and will lose the next election if she runs.

Time is running out. Patience is running out. The pressure is building. Chicago is on the path to destruction. There is no leadership on the fifth floor of City Hall, in the City Council, and not in the Chicago Police Department. 

Failure is an option is the leadership philosophy of this once great city.

The Invisible Voices

When I worked in the 10th District during the late 1970s through the 1980s, we had a dispatcher named Harry. Harry was the best dispatcher on our zone. He had a cheerful disposition and a calm, competent manner. No matter how much chaos there was, he controlled it with his assuring voice.

Harry could handle multiple hot calls, chases, and other incidents without creating havoc. If you look the word multi-tasker up in a dictionary, Harry would be the first definition. There were many dispatchers like Harry, but he stands out because we knew his name.

When Harry was dispatching, he had our backs. He was able to get us whatever we needed ASAP. He rarely asked why, and when he did, it was to make sure he could do the right thing. If there were something severe, Harry would shut down the zone until the issue was resolved. He stayed on the radio with his reassuring voice assisting as if he was there.

Harry, like most dispatchers at the time, was a police officer. He was a cop’s cop. He knew we relied on him, and he never let us down.

I bring up Harry because police officers, the public, and the news media never give dispatchers the credit they deserve. Today, most, if not all, dispatchers are civilians. Chicago police dispatchers are some of the best in the nation. Most cops never meet, let alone know the names of their dispatchers. They are invisible voices on the radio.

During the incident Saturday night that left one police officer murdered and another clinging to life, a dispatcher was one of the heroes. His name is Keith Thornton.

Thornton did a pheromonal job juggling several tasks as the incident unfolded if you listen to the recording. The recording speaks for itself. Thornton took control of the radio zone. He owned it. He showed total focus and concern for “My officers.” His words, “My Officers.”

“That’s the unconscious officer, correct? Is someone in the back with her? Is someone in the back seat with her? Ok, listen to me, take that vest off right now and start compressions, start breathing, whatever you got to do, start it now, while you’re driving, the officer in the back with her, take the vest off and start compressions now. Keep it rolling baby… they know you’re coming in,” 

Thronton stayed cool and calm. He gave directions to the officers on the street. Nothing would interfere with him until the officers were at the hospital, the crime scene secured, and everyone was safe.

Police officers rely on their dispatchers for many things, trivial and critical. They are our ears and mouthpieces. When we need things, they can get them and get them fast. They can organize the chaos, keep officers calm, deescalate excited officers, and juggle many balls in an emergency.

Keith Thornton is a hero. The cops that night know it. Hopefully, the brass and the city will recognize his actions on that horrific night. One could only wonder what went through his head when it was all over. 

Many officers take the dispatchers for granted until the stuff hits the fan. They may not be on the streets. They do not wear guns. They are sitting behind computer screens with headsets. They are always there when cops need them. They are the cops’ invisible partners. They rarely get the credit they deserve.

We All Know

“To such as these, all but forgotten, doing a dirty, thankless job, without reward or glory, policing, firefighting, and EMTs is a way of life, the only one we knew or wanted.” (Paraphrased from “Boots and Saddles”)

The day my daughter was born, I held her tiny body in my arms. Her head was barely the size of my palm. I knew then that I had to change. I could no longer be the kind of police officer I was. I did not want to be all over the news for some action I took. I did not want some bosses and the Police Chaplain ringing the doorbell at some ungodly hour, announcing my family is a member of a club no one wants to join.

Cops, firefighters, and EMTs may not think about or verbalize it. But deep in the recesses of their minds, they all wonder. When they leave for work, will this be the last time they see their loved ones? Will these be the last hugs and kisses.? Their families feel this too. They may never express it, but they know, feel, and fear it.

Some say they do God’s work. That is wrong. They do the work God does not want to do. They do the job no one wants to do. It is a calling, not just a career. They are humans with human flaws. Yet they are essential. Their flaws are splashed all over the news media like cheap beer on a bar. The day-to-day grind and danger are only reported when they are killed or seriously injured performing their essential duty.

Last night a Chicago Police officer was shot and killed. Her partner was critically wounded and is fighting for his life. They were performing their duty. It is called the ultimate sacrifice, dying or being catastrophically injured while performing duty.

We live by rituals. The rituals are essential. They make us feel we belong to something bigger than ourselves. They keep us strong in the face of our weaknesses. They help us grieve, heal, and keep us bonded to each other. They begin the remembrance. We never forget.

The ritual played out over the early morning hours. Droves of police officers gathered at the hospital. Then, the parade of police and fire vehicles took their slow ride to the Cook County Medical Examiners facility. An honor guard and piper led the parade from the street into the parking lot.

Two hook and latter trucks raised their ladders, almost touching, to drape an American flag as they arrived. Officers and Fire Department personnel lined the street to honor the fallen. In the days ahead, the honor wake and funeral will be another part of the ritual.

Another mass gathering of emergency responders will be at the funeral home. A large honor parade will follow the fallen to the cemetery. Handing a flag to the family and the twenty-one gun salute will end the formal ritual.

I was a witness and participant in many of these rituals. Some were for friends. Some were people I worked with. Some were people I did not know. Each and everyone was heartbreaking.

We are extended families. These are our brothers and sisters from other parents.

Another part of the ritual is assisting the families of the fallen or catastrophically injured. We take care of our own. It is the least we can do to honor those who lost their lives or bodies for those words, duty, and honor.

Emergency services personnel go out every day and give their all. They see and do things no human being should experience. As the adage states, they are the first in and the last out. They leave no one behind. The ritual is part and parcel of leaving no one behind, including the families of the fallen.

Lest we forget, others do the work God does not want to do. They are the medical personnel in trauma units. They heroically work to save lives no matter how fruitless their endeavors may seem. Life is sacred to them. They never give up until the very end.

582 Chicago Police Officers were killed in the line of duty since the inception of the Chicago Police Department. Many members were catastrophically injured while serving. The Chicago Police Memorial Foundation assists the families of these officers. For more information or to donate, visit their website.