Reallocation of resources?

During budget hearings in the City Council, Jody Weis claimed he would  “reallocate” police resources from slower crime districts to higher and busier districts.  He is claiming to take “decisive action“.

“I know I’ve talked about this for two years. We will deliver it in 2010. . . . We can’t go three decades without adjusting resources again. That’s inexcusable. . . . We’re not talking about changing districts or beats right now. This is . . . a resource realignment to make sure we put those officers where they need to be based upon . . . a formula we would be able to adjust on a regular basis should crime shift, should communities change.”

No one told Weis the reason there has not been a change in thirty years- actually well over thirty years.  The alderman did not want it and do not want it.  That’s it.  This talk about realigning beats, districts, and manpower has been going on for decades.  Mayors have tried to accomplish it.  Each time it met resistance from the alderman losing police officers or turf.  The same is true today.  Northwest, Southwest, and downtown aldermen are against losing even one police officer.  They will fight lupine fang and claw to keep them.

Weis also did not say how he was going to shift the officers around.  Does he think he is just going to issue an order and cops are going to be moved?  They do have a union contract which allows them to bid into districts and stay there.  Then there is the seniority issue.  There are other issues he probably was not told of either.  Maybe people just do not tell him things. 

Even if he gets by the union issues and others, how will he get by the morale issue?  If he is hated now, what are the cops going to think when he just shifts them around from place to place?  Does he really think they will be cooperative, happy campers? 

Some years back they even tried to get police officers to volunteer to move to busier districts.  It failed.  Not enough wanted to do it.  Even the young hard chargers did not want to move.  Maybe that is something else no one told Weis.  Doesn’t anyone tell this guy anything?  Or did he surround himself  with those who will whisper the sweet docile things he only wants to here? 

The idea of beat realignments, district remapping, and shifting resources has been around for decades.  It comes up and dies.  It could not be achieved.  Even the mayor gave up on it years ago.  It will not happen now.

In the recesses of my foggy memory I seem to recall that the last superintendents who tried take “decisive action” on this- versus doing the smart thing and just giving it lip service- did not last very long either.  



About Peter V. Bella

Peter V. Bella is a passionate cook and photographer. Mr. Bella started cooking as a child with his parents. He has taken professional courses through the years. Mr. Bella a a freelance photojournalist and writer based in Chicago.
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