I-Team interview puts Chicago police supt. on hot seat

Ald. says Weis' should be punished for Obama endorsement on ABC7
October 31, 2008 7:08:56 AM PDT
Chicago Police Supt. Jody Weis should have to follow the same rules prohibiting public endorsements of political candidates that apply to all police officers, according to a city councilman who wants Weis punished for endorsing Barack Obama. In an interview with the ABC7 I-Team broadcast on Oct. 15, Weis said of Obama: "He's our senator and he's hopefully going to be our next president, so it's an honor to serve and protect his home," said Supt. Jody Weis, Chicago Police Dept.

Weis appear in the I-Team's report "Fortress of Hyde Park," which examined extraordinary security surrounding Sen. Obama's home on the South Side. http://abclocal.go.com/wls/story?section=news/iteam&id=6452200

The report disclosed how city taxpayers were funding a supplemental, 24-hour guard by teams of Chicago Police even though federal taxpayers were already shelling out millions for extensive U.S. Secret Service protection.

"We are able to handle that, working with the US Secret Service, we can balance our work load for that," said Weis. "He's our senator and he's hopefully going to be our next president, so it's an honor to serve and protect his home," he said-the line that has landed Weis in trouble.

Earlier this year, the CPD reprimanded a police detective who had campaigned for Ald. Tom Allen (38th) in his failed race for Cook County state's attorney. The detective was found to have violated a rule barring them from engaging in partisan activity as an officer. He appeared in a TV add identified as a city police officer, with an official star hanging around his neck.

"What's good for the goose is good for the gander," said Allen. "If they're going to play games with me politically and hurt good people I've known for 25 years, touché. He should face whatever the penalty is."

The reprimanded detective appeared in a paid TV advertisement in support of Allen's candidacy for state's attorney, according to the police department. Allen lost the Democratic primary to Anita Alvarez in February.

When Weis was notified that the ABC7 statement was a possible police rule violation, he notified the Independent Police Review Authority -- the agency that handles complaints of police misconduct.

A police department lawyer maintains that there is a difference between Weis' comment and a detective's appearance in Allen's ad because the superintendent's statement came within the context of his job.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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