The Police Problem

Re: “The Vanishing Beat Cop: Thanks to an old budget trick, Chicago has even fewer police on the streets than it appears” by Ben Joravsky, August 12

I’m not at all going to argue the overall points that Ben makes in this article . . . but the supporting figures seem to require a salt shaker . . .

One paragraph states: “accounts for 7,413 beat officers. These are the frontline cops, the first responders to 911 emergency calls.” . . . while the next states . . . “And if there are 7,413 beat officers in the current budget, that doesn’t mean there are 7,413 beat officers on the streets.” I think this needs a bit of clarification as to the point you’re trying to prove.

Also look at this reasoning . . . “5,000 beat officers on the streets. The police work three shifts, so that would be 1,666 beat officers out at any given time—minus everyone who’s got the day off or is taking vacation.”

Well actually how I see it is that 5,000 officers, assuming each works 5 shifts a week, total 25,000 available shifts . . . divide that by 21 different shifts available (3 shifts for 7 days) amounts to 1,190 officers per shift. So 1,100 as confirmed by the PD is not that wildly off (remember those vacations) —JBox

Ben Joravsky’s on vacation, but I was involved in this story as an editor, and JBox’s reasoning strikes me as a more elegant way of calculating the force on the street—with the two days off a week taken into account—than we came up with. And it jibes with the number provided by Ben’s “insider”! —Michael Miner

It is a shame that the author had to go through math acrobatics to try and determine how many police officers are on the street on each shift. That should be publicly available information. The idea that the information being public puts the department at a tactical disadvantage is nonsense. It puts the public at a disadvantage. They need these facts to intelligently petition their government regarding budget allocations, TIFs, etc. —ChiVoter

Every good beat cop knows the “bad guys” on his beat. Circa 1978 we were able to lock them up for loitering. We knew they were up to no good. Recovered a lot of guns and drugs from these loiterers. Now step in the ACLU bleeding hearts who were successful stopping this type of practice. They win. The good citizens lose. Bad guys abound, good citizens are held hostage. We had a police supt who stood behind those arrests and the police were locking them up. The streets were quiet for a few years then. —G-Ram

When I saw the headline “The Vanishing Beat Cop,” I assumed the article was about the decline in police officers WALKING their beat. Those who commit crimes will always have the upper hand as long as police are isolated and insulated from street life in squad cars and those garish SUVs. —pfirsich

“At least 700 beat cops are usually on disability or medical leave, according to the city.” Gee, that’s more than 10% of the force out sick every single day. —Leo

If I was Eric Hudson, I’d be moving. I admire his standing up to the gang bangers, but I would be thinking about my safety. I know of a case a few years ago in Avondale where the MLDs killed a civillian for standing up to them. —LeotheOrangeCat

Dear LeotheOrangeCat,

Although I feel it not my place to comment outside the above article, I feel strongly about your comments. I appreciate your concern, but I feel we all have a duty to our community, especially we who live in communities with greater resources. Logan Square has more resources than a community like North Lawndale—in my opinion. I therefore feel, as a beneficiary of these resources, more is expected of me especially when it comes to standing up to the scourge of street gangs.

I’m also a proud first time home owner, so I don’t feel that “running” is an option. In fact, I expect that with my rising property taxes, the City of Chicago—including the Chicago Police Department—to at least support my neighbors and I as we fight for my community. I strongly feel that the Officers of the 14th District, and a senior member of Area Five have, as part of their daily work, have supported my neighbors and I to where we feel safe enough to assume the risk that comes with this fight.

One example of this support was a police roll call organized last Thursday by our 14th District CAPS team ( Yes Our CAPS Team Works!), that sent a clarion call to the whole community and the gang bangers that the officers of the 14th District despite the scandalous disrespect they get not just from gang bangers but also from City Hall, will do all they can to serve and protect us.

Finally, I am not naive nor without fear. But right now Logan Square residents are fighting in both Iraq and Afghanistan. While all of us do not agree with why they’re there, I think we all agree that in principle they are risking their lives to make all our communities safer. I feel that I owe it to them to at least help rally my neighbors and work with the police to at minimum make that small corner of Cortland & Drake safe for children to play.

In both caution and hope,

—Eric Hudson

Make It 12

Re: “Pinoy Pleasures: Eleven Filipino restaurants,” August 12

I wish you had added Pampanga’s, at 6407 N. Caldwell in Edgebrook (in Chicago). I love that place, and not enough people give it a try. Sample the Filipino and Guatemalan tamales—I usually don’t like tamales, but these are delicious. I’ve liked everything I’ve ordered there. —Branko R

Night Court Alley

Re: “Ripe for a Remake: Attention filmmakers: how about a Nightmare Alley unrestrained by quaint Hollywood moral codes?” by Cliff Doerksen, August 12

Nice critique of a great book and film, Cliff. Actor Harry Anderson (Night Court), a huge fan of the book and carnies in general, tried for years to launch a remake with himself as Stanton. Earlier this year a long-touted musical version was presented in Los Angeles. No offense to its creators, but I hope if Nightmare Alley does ever return to the screen, it’s NOT as a musical. —Eddie Muller