Ever since he took over the Chicago Police Department in 2008, Jody Weis's assignment has been to calm police officers who are angry at many things, including working without a contract since 2007 and a federal misconduct prosecution that put a Chicago policeman in prison with a 40-month term, reports the Chicago News Cooperative. Morale problems facing the chief will not be helped by a federal arbitrator's recommendation Friday that the police get a 10 percent raise over five years, far less than the 16 percent Mayor Richard Daley offered during contract talks in 2008.
Weis acknowledged that he had a rocky start as the second outsider ever to run the Chicago force. But he said that his relations with officers suspicious of his background as a former FBI agent had reached a “turning point” and that he had presided over a reduction in crime. “Overall crime went down across the board in every category,” Weis said of 2009. “We've kept that pace up. We're in the 15th consecutive month where crime has actually dropped compared to earlier years.” Weis is in the last year of a three-year contract for his $310,000 job; insiders are speculating about whether Daley will renew the pact, after a recent spike in crime revived criticism of the chief by the rank and file, including one former policeman who accused him of cowardice.