Lies Lies Lies
The next few months of warmer weather will be crucial for Jody Weis, whose job running the police department is as close as it gets to “Mission Impossible” in Chicago.Ever since he took over the department in early 2008, Superintendent 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.
In an interview in early April, Mr. 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 F.B.I. 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,” Mr. Weis said of statistics for 2009. “We’ve kept that pace up. We’re in the 15th consecutive month where crime has actually dropped compared to earlier years.”
- In the hourlong interview in his offices at police headquarters, Mr. Weis defended his leadership. “I try not to dwell on particular failures,” he said, “but I think that we could have done a better job of communicating my vision to folks. There will be a certain percentage who will never embrace me because of where I came from,” he said, adding that in recent months morale has improved because of policies he initiated.
One problem he inherited was an unpopular work schedule that had many officers working six days without a break. He pushed to change the schedule so that they now work four days followed by two days off.
“We went to it officially in January, and the officers have been coming up to me and thanking me because, you know, four days go by pretty quick,” Mr. Weis said. “You’re sharper. We’ve seen a decline in the number of complaints against our officers. They are not mentally drained; they are not run down. And it gives them greater safety on the street.”
The Cozzi episode remains “one thing he will never be able to overcome,” Mr. Donahue said.
Police officers like Mr. Donahue believe that Mr. Weis referred the case to his old federal allies. But the police chief said the F.B.I. was already looking into the incident when he took office.
When Mr. Weis, who has been given the nickname J-Fed by some officers, went to Englewood to hold a news conference on April 2, a shooting occurred a few blocks away as he was speaking to reporters. When Mr. Weis decided to return to headquarters instead of going to the scene of the shooting, John Northern, a retired Chicago police sergeant, publicly accused him of cowardice, and a police blogger started referring to him as “J-Fled.”
“The scene had been secured,” Mr. Weis said. “The victims had already been taken to the hospital; the officers are there talking to witnesses and trying to develop some possible leads. I think if I show up there, I take them away from their work.”
The OEMC timestamps show that the first 007 District cars didn't arrive for over 5 minutes. So J-Fled's statement that "The scene had been secured" is a lie. His hearing the shots shows it. The victim was still lying there bleeding out. And the assumption that "I think if I show up there, I take them away from their work" is about the most arrogant thing we have read in a long time. Are we supposed to snap to attention and salute when J-Fled shows up on the scene? Maybe form up into ranks for a quick inspection?
We've been on the scenes of dozens of shootings, and the smartest thing we've ever seen certain supervisors do is stay the hell out of the way. Your basic street cop knows how to tape a scene, they know to grab up a witness or two for the detectives, some even write down every license plate in the vicinity and most even get a quick flash out for units in the area. Any of that would have helped tremendously at the scene. And exactly none of that was done by the closest available units.
And that should tell you everything you need to know about J-Fled.