When there aren’t enough cops available ‘to serve and protect’

A highly regarded Chicago Police Department dispatcher named Keith Thornton has spoken out on the inadequate staffing hindering police response to even dire calls, following resignations, retirements, and now firings over the COVID vaccine mandate. Even worse, he contends, Chicagoans are being lied to about it by Mayor Lori Lightfoot.

In a nearly 30-minute Facebook video (view it here) Thornton offered firsthand evidence. He speaks in measured, calm tones - exactly what you'd hope for in a police dispatcher who has to deal with chaos and mayhem. He is such an obvious asset to the Police Department that I hope Mayor Lightfoot does not try to exact vengeance for his criticism of her.

Facebook video screengrab

The invaluable resource on the Windy City’s decline into anarchy, CWB Chicago, offers some highlights:

 “I’m really riled up right now,” Thornton said, noting that it was about 11 p.m. “I had a long day, and I’m riled up right now.”

Thornton told viewers that the Jefferson Park district “is so shorthanded with officers that, when you call 911, you’re not getting a quick response … officers are not coming to you … because we have very few officers within these neighborhoods.” (snip)

“I’m talking about females being beaten. Shootings — a shooting came out a few days ago, and we couldn’t even get the unit over there … until 10-plus minutes later because there was no one,” Thornton continued.

The Jefferson Park district was staffed by 268 officers when Brown became superintendent in April 2020. There are 229 assigned to the district this month, according to the Chicago Office of Inspector General.

“They don’t replace the officers here that retire,” Thornton said. “They don’t replace the officers that get promoted.”

“The biggest one that I love: When all hell breaks loose in downtown Chicago … they’re sending five, six cars from this district, just like all the rest, to go sit on a post to protect downtown. It’s bull crap.”

Some specifics:

“Now, Sally’s calling for the man who’s beating on her. The kid’s calling right here because he’s shot. The paramedics are on the scene of a car accident and they’re fighting. Here’s another car accident up here. Here’s a stabbing right here. Here’s a domestic battery right here. And no one’s coming,” he says while holding up a quickly-sketched visual aid that he said demonstrated how many patrol cars were not staffed in the 16th District as he was making his presentation.

“So [911 calls] stay lingering on the board of the district for hours and hours and hours, and no one’s coming until someone eventually frees up or the next shift comes in eight hours later to handle that call.”

“It’s smoke and mirror, guys.”

Thornton blamed Mayor Lori Lightfoot for CPD’s staffing problems in his video, which he accompanied with a post that said, “CPD is short manpower and you are being lied to by the mayor and CPD upper management.”

“All that lady cares about is her f*ckin’ self,” Thornton said of Lightfoot. “And I pray you’re watching this, ‘cuz you’re a disgrace, and I’m tired of it. And your city is tired of it. Matter of fact, it’s not your city.”

There is little prospect of the situation improving. After all, who would want to be a cop now, given the abuse officers receive, even from the courts?

Second City Cop, a well-informed police insider, writes in The Chicago Contrarian about the difficulty of the Chicago Police Department in adding new officers:

We got this in the mail from nearly a dozen people and we did some checking. It’s 100 percent true:

  • November written entry exam — 155 applicants
  • 59 people showed up
  • 29 passed

And then, the POWER Test [Peace Officers Wellness Evaluation Report – TL]

  • 400 invited — which means the Department had to reach back five or six tests to previous failed candidates
  • 46 showed up — you read that correctly, 46
  • 42 failed

The first week of December, the Academy was slated to start a class....of fourteen cadets. Eight showed up. Class was canceled until they could get it over twenty-five, which might have happened this past Monday. So yeah, Lightfoot is going to hire her way out of this disaster, especially after two years of demonizing the entire profession, removing every tool that has been proven to work in policing and failing to hold anyone responsible for criminal behavior....unless you’re an officer making a minor procedural error. Then it’s the gallows for you!

I fear that matters are going to get a lot worse in Chicago before they get better. Lori Lightfoot scornfully rejected President Trump’s offer of federal officers to help, but now is begging from Biden what she rejected on offer from Trump, demonstrating pure politics, not concern for the welfare of Chicagoans.

Hat tip: Peter von Buol

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