Chicago crime rates are up from last year. Arrests, traffic stops and gun recoveries are down. The union representing police officers in this city says that is partly because officers are doing their jobs gingerly, out of fear that the controversial police superintendent won’t back them if they face misconduct charges, the Washington Post reports. The slowdown is known as “de-policing.” Mark Donahue, president of the Fraternal Order of Police, says it could result in more crime and more guns on the streets. “Officers are now looking out for themselves more than they had in the past, as far as taking chances,” he said.
Superintendent Jody Weis took charge in February, tasked with cleaning up a department plagued by corruption and misconduct scandals, including the videotaped beating of a diminutive female bartender by an off-duty officer. In vowing to reform the department, Weis has requested the power to fire officers, bypassing the nine-member civilian Police Board that currently must approve any disciplinary action. There is bad blood between the officers and the superintendent stemming from negotiations over a new contract, which Donahue said “are not going well.” Many officers resented Weis’s hiring because he is a former FBI agent who came from Philadelphia and has no history in Chicago. “His lack of experience in running a municipal law enforcement agency has become evident,” Donahue said.