Local

Weis responds to police brutality case

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Two officers stripped of their powers following an alleged beating have been reinstated while the investigation continues against the five other officers allegedly involved.

The police union said Chicago Police Supt. Jody Weis jumped the gun relieving the two officers of their police powers and is demanding an apology.

"You have to remember, we relieve officers for the welfare of the public and the officers. It is not discipline. It is not a suspension," Weis said.

Accusations of police brutality emerged after a handcuffed suspect was allegedly assaulted by a police officer on the South Side.

"That's serious. When we learned this information from the Independent Police [Review] Authority, we had to take immediate action. Based on the facts at that time, it was appropriate that the officers identified to us were relieved of police powers," Weis said. "If we receive allegations, we will oftentimes relieve them of police powers if we feel they represent a problem for the public. We do this for the protection of all involved."

Weis also recently announced he will shift more officers to higher-crime areas while almost all the numbers in every crime category are down.

"We always battle perception, and keep in mind, when we say crime is down, that's for the whole city. Unfortunately, there are some neighborhoods and some communities where crime is a very, very real part of their life, and those are the areas we really have to focus on," Weis said. "We still have 10 percent of the communities in Chicago that face crime every day. We've got to do a better job of protecting them and working with them to eradicate the crime that affects some of these communities."

Weis said the plan to reassign officers was still being evaluated and hoped to have it in place by year's end.

"We had a company evaluate calls for service, trying to look at balancing the work. We have some districts where they're not running from call to call. We think we can provide equal police service if we make minor allocations. These aren't going to be huge tweaks, and [in] some of the districts we will move people," Weis said. "We think we can give district managers more latitude in how they deploy. We hope we will be able to balance our workload and give equal police service to all communities."

Weis said the evaluations are not based on actual crime but calls for service.

"You might have a low-crime area but not have that many police officers right now, so the calls for service and the amount of discretionary time might be appropriate. We will have to wait and see. We want to get this in place. It's been 30 years, too long," Weis said.

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