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The [Thursday] Papers

"State Troopers Deployed By Emanuel, Quinn Campaigns."

Okay, so I fiddled with the headline a bit.

And maybe I'm being overly cynical.

But I have a few questions.

"The Illinois State Police will send 40 troopers to join Chicago police as part of teams that will try to catch fugitives, Gov. Pat Quinn and Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced Wednesday," the Tribune reports.

"The specifics of the partnership are still being worked out, and its impact remains to be seen. At a minimum, the cooperative 'surge teams' could be politically helpful to both the governor and the mayor as they run for re-election at a time when Chicago's violent crime remains a major issue."

Read my mind!

"The troopers will be assigned to 20 to 25 groups made up of five Chicago police officers and two troopers each, according to the Quinn administration. The troopers will patrol 'four city neighborhoods' as part of the teams which 'will focus on apprehending those with known violent criminal histories who are wanted by law enforcement,' Quinn's office said.

"Chicago police Superintendent Garry McCarthy and state police Director Hiram Grau are still working out the specifics of the special detail, including which neighborhoods the troopers will patrol, said state police spokeswoman Monique Bond. According to Quinn's office, the troopers will come from State Police districts across the state, and they will be paid out of the state police budget. The mayor said the fugitive teams will be in place for at least the next month."

This raises several questions:

* Why announce the move when its main details really haven't been worked out? Could politics have anything to do with that?

* Why haven't the main details been worked out yet?

* Doesn't the police department already have a fugitive warrants unit? Likewise, doesn't the Cook County Sheriff's Office handle warrants?

* Does the ISP really have the manpower to loan out 40 officers?

* Is "surge" a good word to use when you are trying to dispel the notion that Chicago is Chiraq?

Back to the Trib:

"There are currently 77 Chicago police officers in the department's fugitive apprehension unit, said Chicago police spokesman Martin Maloney. The state troopers will work with them and 'will be deployed to and concentrate on specific areas which are prone to a higher volume of crime,' Maloney said in an e-mail."

Because Maloney was allowed to insert a press release into the article via e-mail, he could not be asked questions such as:

* How are officers in CPD's fugitive apprehension unit currently deployed?

* Is that unit experiencing a shortage?

* Has that unit ever notified its bosses that it needs extra help?

* Has that unit's budget increased or decreased in recent years?

* How hard will it be to train up state police officers?

* When and how was that unit told of the plan?

Back to the Trib:

"Dean Angelo, president of Lodge 7 of the Fraternal Order of Police, the union that represents rank-and-file Chicago police officers, said Quinn's announcement tells the public there aren't enough cops patrolling the city's streets. Part of the problem is that the department has concentrated its efforts on beat patrols, leaving scant resources to participate in manhunts for violent fugitives, he said."

That's what he says, but is it true?


The Sun-Times reported it this way:

"Gov. Pat Quinn has offered to free up 40 more state troopers over the next 30 days to serve fugitive warrants in Chicago, get known criminals off the street and combat the traditional summer surge of gang violence, Mayor Rahm Emanuel said Wednesday."

Okay, but it's August. The "traditional summer surge" is two-thirds over, isn't it?

"The mayor never mentioned the offer Quinn made that Chicago refused to accept, apparently because of the embarrassing headlines that it might generate for a city already known as the nation's murder capital: for state troopers or the National Guard to join Chicago Police in patrolling the streets of Chicago."

Of course, Chicago isn't even close to being the nation's murder capital, so the Sun-Times is, again, just perpetuating a falsehood.

Moving on:

"The troopers will be drawn from districts across the state and can be 'accommodated with current State Police resources,' the [press release from the governor's office] stated, without mentioning what services would be sacrificed."

The press release was not available for further explanation.

""Earlier this year I told Mayor Emanuel we would help in any way we could to combat violence in the city," Quinn said. "When he requested assistance, I immediately agreed to help."

How much earlier in the year? This could have been ready to go back in, say, June?


"Very simply, fugitive apprehension is the simplest way to reduce crime because they're wanted today. You put handcuffs on them, they don't commit a crime tomorrow or later on today," McCarthy said."

And yet, you just came up with this plan now?

"When the mayor and the governor were having conversations about, what could they do, I very simply said, 'Get us some folks to work fugitive apprehension with us.' Our fugitive team [was] expanded a couple of years ago. We think we have it right-sized. But more means we can go out and arrest more wanted people, which is obviously going to help us. We recover guns and we solve other crimes when we do that. So, doing more of that is obviously something that's good."

So "right-sized" means you need 40 more outside officers to get the job done. What is this, CPS?

"Almost a month ago, Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart joined the fray when he dedicated 115 officers to serve warrants in Chicago for people wanted for violent and gang-related offenses. They've made 284 arrests, seized 45 guns and created 821 "contact cards" documenting gang members they've stopped. The sheriff's officers are coordinating their efforts with Chicago Police commanders in the Calumet, Harrison and Austin districts."

So "right-sized" means you need 155 more outside officers to get the job done. What is this, CPS?


"The move followed a violent Fourth of July weekend when 13 people were shot to death and dozens more were wounded, shining another unflattering national spotlight on Chicago.

"The bloodbath prompted Quinn to renew his longstanding offer to send Illinois State Police troopers into the city to assist Chicago Police officers if Emanuel and McCarthy requested it.

"The governor made an identical pitch last year after a Back of the Yards shooting left 13 people wounded. So far, Emanuel and McCarthy [hadn't] asked."

Let me repeat, then:

"Very simply, fugitive apprehension is the simplest way to reduce crime because they're wanted today. You put handcuffs on them, they don't commit a crime tomorrow or later on today," McCarthy said."

Or when campaign season is surging.


I was set to critique some reporting that made it seem like the state troopers would be patrolling neighbors instead of just serving on warrant teams, but then I came across the update to this post from Greg Hinz at Crain's:

Perhaps sensing some political damage, the Emanuel Administration is insisting the state police surgers will stick to serving fugitive warrants. "They're not patrolling streets," says a spokesman. "It's an expanded partnership on fugitive apprehension."

But the Quinn camp is sticking by its statements that "patrolling" is involved.

"We're going to be assisting CPD (Chicago Police Department) in whatever they need to address violence," says Monique Bond, a spokeswoman for the Illinois State Police.

What the new folks will do is "all encompassing," she added. "It includes more than going after fugitives."

My guess is that Bond doesn't really know what she's talking about. Then again, it's not clear Quinn and Emanuel do at this point either.


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