Crime is down, according to Chicago Police Supt. Jody Weis. So why is he being scrutinized? Simply put, according to many officers, he’s not “born blue.”
Crime is down 3.7 percent compared to last October, according to The Chicago Sun-Times, but Weis continues to be scrutinized.
“I think he has done a lot, but he’s not born blue,” said Deputy Sheriff Mike Coleman, a five-year veteran of the sheriff’s office. Coleman believes Weis is not respected because he did not come up through the ranks of the Chicago Police Department, but was hired from a federal agency – the FBI.
Weis served 23 years in various areas of the FBI on investigations of major gangs, domestic and international terrorism, organized violent crime, public corruption and white-collar crime. Coleman believes Weis’ appointment was justified because of his FBI credentials.
William Hudson Jr., a 30-year veteran of the Cook County sheriff’s force, thinks Mayor Richard M. Daley made a mistake in appointing Weis to the high-paying superintendent position over locals with greater tenure on the Chicago streets.
“There were other people with more knowledge and more experience than Weis,” he said.
Weis earns $90,000 per year more than Daley himself. Daley has justified Weis’ salary by saying he wears two hats: that of top cop and emergency officer.
A Chicago police officer for 18 years, who didn’t want his name used, said he “hates” Weis.
“He’s an outsider looking in,” he said.
At a luncheon in his honor, Weis said he wants officers equipped with better squad cars, weapons and radios. Nonetheless, hundreds of officers have taken to the streets demanding his resignation.
On Sept. 15, officers marched with signs demanding more manpower and protesting assault claims filed against officers. “Morale is low due to the lack of support from Superintendent Weis,” said Coleman, adding that officers are put in dangerous situations where they don’t feel safe protecting the community.
Weis was also criticized Aug. 28 when he met with gangs along with other law enforcement and community leaders. Weis sent a message to gangs that immediate law enforcement action would be taken against the gang responsible for the next homicide. As an alternative to crime, he offered job programs to help gang members leave the streets.
Some officers were critical of the meeting, but Weis’ FBI experience in other cities, such as Boston and Cincinnati, has proven meetings of this caliber work. According to Coleman, Weis arrested 60 gang members to show he meant what he said.
Coleman said that although Weis “is no Terry Hilliard,” Weis does seek advice from the well-respected former superintendent.
“(Weis) is not aggressive enough,” said Coleman. He referred to an especially bloody June weekend, saying “28 shootings would have never happened under Hilliard.”
Jesse Torres, a father of three children, called the violence “scary.” He believes crime has gotten worse since Weis has become the superintendent.
“This is America, not some third-world country,” he said. “All this crime should not be happening.”
Chicago’s murder rate was three times higher than New York’s in 2009, according to an analysis of FBI records by The Chicago Reporter.
“It seems like (Weis) does not care,” said Torres, who supported the call for National Guard troops to come to Chicago. Weis and Daley strongly rejected the idea, seeing it as an insult to the police force.
“I would love to come out of my house and see the National Guard standing on the corner,” said Torres.