After weeks of worsening revelations about the Chicago Police Department’s elite Special Operations Section, the interim police superintendent has disbanded the scandal-plagued unit and sent most of its officers back to more strictly supervised assignments, reports the Chicago Tribune. The recent incidents of police misconduct, which include charges that SOS officers robbed and kidnapped people, and that one accused officer plotted to murder another, have been “disheartening and demoralizing, especially for officers who serve honorably every day,” interim Supt. Dana Starks said yesterday.
Some of the more than 100 SOS officers to be reassigned will join the Targeted Response Unit, which does similar work hunting guns and drugs in gang-infested areas. Most will be reassigned to the city’s 25 patrol districts, where they will be more tightly tied to police radio assignments, “answering calls for service,” Starks said. Once touted as one of the most nimble and aggressive weapons for fighting street gangs, SOS has produced one black eye after another for the city and Mayor Richard Daley’s administration over the last year, and especially in the last several weeks. Units at the heart of the scandal were involved in street policing, rooting out gang and drug crimes in the roughest parts of Chicago.