Police Supt. Jody Weis on the hot seat

July 12, 2008 8:13:48 PM PDT
Police Superintendent Jody Weis answered critics concerns Saturday after a week's worth of headlines questioning his job performance. Weis will be called before a city council hearing on Tuesday. On Saturday, his department released crime statistics that show how his officers are doing at combating violence in the city.

The statistics show that fewer people were murdered in the city of Chicago in the month of June than in the previous month, but when you compare those stats to one year ago, murders are up nearly 13-percent.

The increase in violence is a trend other big cities across the country are also seeing. Nonetheless, the timing isn't good for Chicago's police superintendent.

"Anytime you have a new boss, new changes, not everyone will buy into it. We have 16,000 people in the department. It's hard for me to go out and explain every change and everything we're doing. It's just difficult," said Supt. Judy Weis, Chicago Police Department.

Police Superintendent Jody Weis says he understands the skepticism with which some view him. After all he is an outsider in a department accustomed to insiders.

"I think if crime comes down, morale goes up and the community trusts us and we can work together I'll know I've made it," said Weis.

One part of the top cop's job is to make residents feel safe. That's why taking part in anti-violence marches are part of the beat. On Saturday afternoon, Weis took part in a march in the one in North Lawndale.

While Weis walked, his department released the June crime stats. Murders were up 12.8 percent compared to the same time last year. Sexual assaults were down 13.6 percent while robberies increased by 7.9 percent.

"People here get frustrated by violence. They need to see city officials and the police care about them. That's positive," said Fr. Tom Walsh, St. Agatha's Parish.

On Friday, Weis invited aldermen to a series of small meetings where he promised better communication. He also indicates he is open to re-aligning police districts which could move officers from low-crime, high rent areas into more violence prone parts of the city.

A new version of the scandal-scarred special operations section may make a come back. Weis wants an aggressive unit of officers to once again hop-scotch the city's hot spots.

Residents say they care less about who's running the department than they do about the results.

"We want violence to stop," said Angelica Dobynes, North Lawndale resident.

While publicly Mayor Daley says Weis still has his support, earlier this week the mayor stripped the superintendent of some powers over terrorism and disaster planning.


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