Council grills Weis on many issues

Weis faces council on teen cop impersonator
February 6, 2009 4:57:10 PM PST
Alderman made it clear they have a lot of questions about how the department is being run. Jody Weis was hired to shake up the Chicago Police Department and after one year on the job he still inspires a chorus of critics.

On Friday, he was back on the city council hot seat.

Over two weeks ago, a 14-year-old boy used the unlocked entrance to join a roll call and begin a several-hours period during which he impersonated a patrolman.

While promising discipline for those involved in the security lapse, Superintendent Weis said he'll act on February 23 when a report on the investigation is released.

"Someone has to be held accountable but we don't know who that person will be right now," said Weis.

Investigators are focusing on the officers in charge when a fourteen-year-old boy wearing a police uniform slipped through an unlocked back door at the Grand Crossing station, stood in a roll call and later patrolled neighborhoods and answered calls on the South Side. The investigation is also focused on the real cop, a forty-year-old female with two years experience who partnered with the kid for five hours.

"When they're out there patrolling we're expecting them to pay attention," said Ald. Leslie Hairston, 5th Ward.

Weis and his commanders testified the back door at Grand Crossing was not fixed until yesterday. And when asked about security at other police buildings, Weis appeared flustered when asked about a December burglary at the department's 35th and Michigan headquarters on the same fifth floor where the superintendent's office is located.

"I wasn't really prepared to answer that question today. I promise the chairman I will get answers to him back on that," said Weis.

It was the second time in the last seven months Weis had been called onto the council carpet.

He took heat last summer after a loop shooting as the July 3 fireworks ended. Police and fire committee chairman Ike Carothers has been a consistent critic of Weis who earns over $300,000 a year.

"I didn't appoint him. Mayor did," said Carothers.

But Weis, the former FBI agent and first outsider to run the department in nearly 50 years, said he did not feel any unfair pressure.

"I think it's a chance to explain what happened and what we're doing to prevent it in the future and it's appropriate," said Weis.

Superintendent Weis had something else on his mind on Friday: a building owned, but not lived in, by his First Deputy Superintendent Beatrice Cuello was raided by narcotics officers overnight. Cuello's daughter's boyfriend was arrested and charged with possession of drugs and guns.

Weis said he was not told until after the fact that the raid had happened but he wasn't bothered that he was not in the loop.