If you look at the colossally dumb videos on YouTube and Facebook, and the off-the-charts sales of Selfie Sticks, you’d think the whole world couldn’t wait to get their 15 minutes of fame. But evidently the 12,000-plus members of the Chicago Police Department feel differently.
Ever since the video of the Laquan McDonald shooting was released last November, CPD officers have gone out of their way to avoid the camera. According to Anthony Guglielmi, a Chicago Police Department spokesman, in the first three months of 2015, CPD made over 157,000 investigative stops. At the same time this year, that number has dropped by 90 per cent, to less than 21,000 stops.
Did the usual suspects suddenly become less suspicious? Not exactly. A neighborhood news source called DNAinfo Chicago reports that during the same three-month period, shootings across the city are up 80 percent. So far this year, there have been 650 shootings, with 123 people killed and 652 wounded. And that’s in a harsh Chicago winter. When summer arrives, the shooters defrost their Glocks, and the pace picks up, so Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez estimates the city is on track to have 700 murders this year.
So why the huge decline in investigative stops? A source who asked not to be identified said officers want to avoid ending up in a bad situation (like going viral on YouTube). “Maybe they’re doing their job by some definition, but it’s the bare minimum,” the source said.
Dean Angelo, President of the Fraternal Order of Police, wasn’t afraid to make his opinion public. “I’ve been out to roll calls, and so have our board of directors,” he said. “… and what we’re hearing is that officers think that the FOP is the only group of people who have their back. … I’ve never seen things like this in my 35 years. … I’ve never seen morale this bad in my career.”
Photo: By Brett Gustafson (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons