Highway Road Runner

Highway Road Runner
Riding the Dragon - US Hwy 129


2013... The year to get back in the saddle and do some serious riding

Due to life events, I haven't been on my white horse much in the past few years. This year is going to be different. I am going to get some serious riding in this year. Stay tuned...


Motorcycle touring and the circuses of life... A time to refocus

I started this blog few years ago with the idea of sharing my adventures on the road - riding my Goldwing all over this great country. Motorcycle touring is truly a passion that brings me much happiness and serenity. Being a big-city police officer, with all its drama and circuses,  it gets too easy to be sucked into a vortex where one loses pieces of their humanity and focus of their true inner-self. Running down the road has shown me some of God's great beauty on this Earth, along with some great people along the way. Those who ride two wheels can relate to what I am saying.

During the past two years, my riding time has significantly decreased, mainly due to work events. In fact, in 2010, I only took my white horse out once for a big ride... where even that ride was cut short... forcing me for the first time ever to leave her behind (safely on my brother's ranch in Texas)...  while I flew back to Chicago in a rush. With everything going on last year, I never made it back to the Lone Star State to retrieve my horse and ride her home.

Riding, even the short "night rides" have always been great stress relievers for me. It gave me opportunities to escape - even if only for an hour or so - to clear my head and put a smile back on my face.  I truly miss it.

It has been a sad and somewhat depressing sight to return home from work each day, opening my garage to park my truck - only to once again see the stable where my white horse would normally be - empty. I miss her teases and taunts, whispering to me - RIDE!!!

I can't wait to get some escape time to run down to Texas and ride my white horse again - even if only to tool a bit around in the hill country of West Texas - while waiting for more favorable weather and winds to ride her safety back home.

I must get more ride time this year. I love the road, I love the people and I love the adventure. I love how it inspires me. I love how it restores my inner being and reminds me there is still humanity left in this often cruel world we live in.

I have been called a Centurion... a title that I believe fits me well. My calling in life has been to serve as one of His police officers. I have been and will always be very passionate in my unwavering commitment to serve with honor, integrity, compassion and fairness. While I always ask for God's guiding hand and a measure of wisdom as I perform my duty, I am so very grateful he has allowed me to enjoy some balance and tranquility by riding two wheels through His great creation.

I enjoy sharing my stories on the road with you. That is why I created this blog. Perhaps some that don't ride two wheels will find my adventures to be an invitation, or perhaps even a calling, to join those of us that do on the open road.

As part of my original intention and refocus, I will reach back to past riding adventures and share my stories in words and pictures. It has been an awesome adventure on the road so far... with so many more miles ahead!

Ride safe - Work safe - Live safe!

See you on the road...

John Andrews
The Highway Road Runner

Former Chicago Police Superintendent Fred Rice Passes Away

R.I.P. Superintendent Fred Rice. My condolences to his family.

My personal experience with Superintendent Rice was limited, as I was just a recruit back then - the first class under the Washington administration (85-1A).

Still, I have a humorous Fred Rice story to share...

After the graduation ceremony, we were all taking pictures. I asked the Superintendent if he would pose for a picture with my wife and myself. "I would be happy to", he said.

With the dark and dry sense of humor that I am sometimes noted for...

While standing next to him for the picture, I looked down and brushed off the four stars on his shoulder with my white-gloved hand.

Jokingly, I said, "No offense sir, but hopefully one day I will be wearing those stars."

Without missing a beat, he chuckled and said, "Son, by the time you get these stars - I'll be dead and buried... heh heh heh."

The picture was then snapped.

Immediately afterward, he turned, shook my hand, and said, "Make sure you get that college... college is very, very important."

25 years later...

I never forgot those words he said to me. I went to college, obtaining both an undergrad and a masters degree.

As for those stars...

Perhaps the fantasy of a rookie police officer... My professional reality has played out much differently... and quite unexpected as of late. LOL

The only "gold" I envision in my future will perhaps be a retirement watch... which I am in no hurry to receive.

God bless you Fred Rice. In my eyes you were a true gentleman and a good Superintendent... with a healthy sense of humor.

Thank you for your service.


CPD Superintendent Jody Weis Claims No Morale Problems at CPD

Superintendent Jody Weis is dead wrong on the issue of morale at the Chicago Police Department. There are numerous underlying factors that account for the reductions in crime numbers that he is touting. Morale at CPD is still at an all-time low. I see it every day.

Weis should stop trying to get people feeling sorry him by hanging his hat on the statement, "They don't like me because I am from the FBI." This has nothing to do with the morale dilemma at CPD. Public and organizational  corruption, along with incompetent leadership are the leading issues affecting morale at the CPD. 

Yet Weis continues to ignore them, along with other serious public safety issues. 

Instead, he vigorously pursues his self-serving media blitz, in an apparent attempt to salvage a legacy of his superintendency. One would think he is running for Sheriff or some elected office - seeing how much he has been in the media -  tooting his horn the past several months.

Chicago is my home. I have lived and served here my entire life. Public safety is a public concern. I cannot in good conscious stand idly by when the citizens of this city are lied to and mislead. 

Revisit my writing from last July. The issues I presented then are still very valid today. Unfortunately, we have lost a few more police officers since then.

We need positive change. I hope and pray that with a new administration and a new superintendent, we can begin the long journey to recovery. The people of Chicago deserve no less.   - John Andrews


Open Letter From James A. Maurer, Chief of Patrol (RET), Chicago Police Department

My sincere thanks to the Chief for taking such a stand. Indeed, it is an honor and priviledge to command.
Maurer Letter

Chicago Police Memorial Foundation’s Annual Candlelight Vigil: Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Chicago Police Memorial Foundation’s Annual Candlelight Vigil
Tuesday, September 14, 2010 - 7 p.m.
Gold Star Families Memorial and Park

The public is welcome to attend this solemn event

Exit 18th Street from Lake Shore Drive and head East to Waldron Drive. On non-event days, one-hour free parking is available at the southwest corner of Waldron and Museum Campus Drive. Located along Lake Michigan on the east side of Soldier Field, it is nearly five acres extending from McFetridge Drive on the North to Waldron Drive on the South.

Following a statue dedication, commemorating Chicago police officers catastrophically injured in the line of duty, the Candlelight Vigil will commence in front of the water wall at the Chicago Police Memorial.

The Vigil will include brief speaking program including Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley, Chicago Police Superintendent Jody Weis and Donna Marquez, president of the Gold Star Families.

Following the program, the names of 550 Chicago police officers killed in the line of duty will be read by Gold Star family members, police officers and Chicago Police Memorial Foundation supporters. I will be one of the police officers reading the names of our fallen, in memory of my cousin, P.O. Donald Andrews # 15701 - End of Watch: 01 January 1975.

Included are the 2010 names added to the Memorial Wall:
Alan J. Haymaker
Thomas Gesiorski
Michael Twohig
Edward Healy
Frank Sedlach
William Ellfeldt
Edward Breen
Thomas Wortham IV
Thor Soderberg
Michael Bailey

Background: The Chicago Police Memorial Foundation is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to honoring the lives and memories of our fallen heroes. The Foundation provides support and assistance to the families of Chicago Police Officers who were killed or catastrophically injured in the line of duty.

For additional information please contact:

Chicago Police Memorial Foundation
1407 W. Washington Blvd.
Chicago, IL. 60607
(312) 499-8899

The Honorable Members of the Chicago Police Department Need Your Active Support

Wed, Sept 15th, 10 AM:

All off-duty Chicago police officers - muster at CPD HQ for the FOP march.

Citizens of Chicago - muster at Chicago City Hall to protest inadequate public safety, supporting the efforts of your police marching on their HQ. Bring your voices, your signs, your family and friends...

Chicago needs positive change. Safe streets are everyone's business!

Spread the word! Be there!


March This Wednesday to Help Us Put More Cops on Chicago's Streets

By Matt Farmer
The Huffington Post

Be honest. Did you even bat an eye when you read this weekend's headlines? Cubs lose to the Brewers by thirteen runs. Bears eke out an ugly win against the lowly Lions. And another uniformed Chicago cop gets shot in broad daylight.

If these stories didn't faze you, it's probably because you've read too many similar tales over the years. It's also likely that you don't think there's a damn thing you can do to change any of these situations. As for the Cubs and the Bears, I'd have to agree with you -- unless, of course, your name is McCaskey or Ricketts. But make no mistake -- you can help to make life less dangerous for our Chicago cops (and, in turn, for each of us) simply by heading over to City Hall this Wednesday morning at 10:00 a.m.

I wrote recently for the Huffington Post about Lieutenant John R. Andrews, a 25-year veteran of the Chicago Police Department. Andrews had the courage to post on his personal blog a thoughtful essay about the problems he and his fellow officers confront on a daily basis. CPD brass honored Andrews' courage by making him the subject of an internal affairs investigation -- even though his long career has been unblemished by disciplinary problems. At the end of my piece, I wrote: "I'll do my best to have [Andrews'] back on this one, and I hope you will, too. He's probably going to need our help." I meant what I said.

A couple of weeks ago, the board of directors of Chicago's Fraternal Order of Police voted to stage a September 15 march to call attention to CPD's "dangerously low manpower." Our streets are short thousands of cops, and that's no secret to the gang-bangers shooting it out across the city. (The Chicago Reader's Ben Joravsky recently explained how the city has failed to replace retiring officers, choosing instead to spend money earmarked for salaries on other departmental needs.)

This week's police march is a good idea. Unfortunately -- for reasons unknown both to me and to a whole host of rank-and-file cops -- FOP leadership decided to stage the march outside of CPD headquarters at 3510 S. Michigan Avenue. Nothing like hiding one's light under a bushel.

Andrews, however, has asked for our help. While appearing on a local radio show in early September, he asked that concerned Chicagoans stage a companion march at City Hall this Wednesday while the police are marching at headquarters. His rationale smacked of something this city rarely enjoys: participatory democracy. It's your city; let your voice be heard. And from what I hear, a fair number of cops plan to join the City Hall march.

Maybe your ward isn't currently plagued by the level of gang violence that has claimed many of our city's neighborhoods, so you feel like this is someone else's problem. Maybe you don't know any Chicago cops, so you haven't had a chance to hear what they've been dealing with -- both on the street and within the department -- during the last few years. In either case, ignore their plight at your own peril. As Eddie Burke -- the 18th Century philosopher, not the 14th Ward alderman -- once said: "All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing."

Join us outside of City Hall this Wednesday at 10:00 a.m. Take an early lunch that day. Let our lame duck mayor know that he can't leave office with a police force that's short thousands of cops. And if Daley chooses not to listen, your presence at City Hall will still send a strong message to those folks seeking to replace him next year.

Andrews and his CPD colleagues need our support before the increasingly fashionable run-and-shoot offense claims the life of another cop. I hope to see you this Wednesday.

Follow Matt Farmer on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/mifarmer

John Andrews - Post on Second City Cop Blog

This is a copy of a post I submitted on the Second City Cop blog...

It seems I must chime in to provide clarity for those who may be misinformed as to my words, actions or intent.

On September 1st, I was a guest on the Jim Laski Show on WGN Radio. The content of my participation on that show is available via podcast for anyone that cares to listen to what I "actually" said.

I stated that the Fraternal Order of Police announced that they were calling for a march of the membership at CPD HQ on Wednesday, September 15th @ 10 am.

I also stated that the people of Chicago needed to make a decision. If they were not happy with public safety in Chicago, I suggested that while the FOP marched on 35th Street... 50,000 citizens should be marching simultaneously at Chicago City Hall.

My thought process was... if we can get a million people to come downtown to celebrate a Stanley Cup, could we get at least a fraction of that number to demonstrate against inadequate public safety in Chicago?

In the end, it is the citizens of this city that must mandate the change that is so needed today at CPD.

As Chicago police officers, we too, are citizens of this city. Our voices are equally as important - but should not be the only voices heard.

To be clear... It never was my intent to interfere with the activity or actions of organized labor (police union).

My call for citizens to march at City Hall was to be in tandem (support) of the efforts that the FOP announced.

While I did call for citizens to get involved and march at City Hall in tandem with the police march at HQ, I am certainly not sponsoring or organizing any march there. That will have to be done by the good people of Chicago, if it is done at all.

With that said, I will be at City Hall at 10 am Wednesday to meet with any citizens that choose to answer the call and involve themselves through active participation and protest. I hope they bring signs, loud voices and everyone they know. I am only a messenger with a single voice and have no signs.

From there, I will proceed to 35th Street to march with the honorable members of the CPD, as I did at the last march called by the FOP.

(I hope someone saves a sign for me.)

It is my personal opinion that police officers must stand united as one. That means (for better or worse) marching at CPD HQ.

The members of CPD are "all in" when it comes to putting skin in the game, by virtue of their employment as law enforcers.

It is time for citizens to start putting skin in the game by actively voicing their concerns in numbers and getting the attention of the Mayor and the Aldermen.

We will keep fighting the good fight together until positive change arrives.

God bless the honorable members of the CPD. I will see you on Wednesday at HQ.

Work safe!

John Andrews

9/13/2010 07:50:13 PM

John Andrews Responds to the Chicago Sun Times Article - "Chicago Police Supt. Jody Weis rips his critics"

Here is the link to the Chicago Sun Times article. Please read it for yourself.

My response is as follows:

It is unfortunate that Mr. Weis once again blames everyone but himself for his failed leadership at the Chicago Police Department.

He can spin the yarn as hard as he wants, but the people of Chicago see right through his delusional rhetoric.

Weis has failed the citizens of Chicago in so many ways, yet pretends (to himself) that he is so great.

While I could go on and on about his failed leadership, in this post I will focus on one point. He claims to have worked hard to develop positive relations with the community. I dispute that claim.

The Superintendent has stripped the districts of manpower to staff not one, but three "mobile field forces." He claims this was needed to fight crime where police were needed the most.

I would like to think the common sense would tell a professional police administrator that multiple mobile field forces is not an exercise in "unity of command." Instead, it is the creation of three political fiefdoms for cronies. It replicates function and is redundant.

A simple look at CPD's organizational chart is evidence enough of poor leadership decisions, in the allocation of police resources throughout the organization.

The stripping of district law enforcement manpower to staff these various mobile field forces (Mobile Strike Force, Targeted Response Unit and Gang Enforcement Unit) has left bare bones police resources to patrol the districts.

I would argue that while mobile field forces come and go throughout the city to put out the crime fires in various neighborhoods, their purpose and mission is not to establish positive relationships with the community. Those meaningful relationships can only come from the beat cop... the police officers that work the beat day in and day out.

The beat cop would be the familiar face that residents and business people come to know and trust. Unfortunately, because of the radically reduced staffing of district law enforcement, the beat cop can only run from call to call, with little or no time for proactive discretionary patrol time.

Thus under the Weis model of policing in Chicago, no one is tending to the fields of our neighborhoods to develop realistic and sustainable trust-building between police and community.

Commanders of police districts cannot go to community meetings and promise the world, when they don't have the means to deliver. People see through the bull and know it is more broken promises.

It is apparent that Jody Weis could care less that no one in the Chicago Police Department likes him. What Jody Weis should care about is that no one in the Chicago Police Department trusts him or his leadership. As a result of that lack of trust and confidence, he has been ineffective in running the 2nd largest police agency in the United States.

His only real success in Chicago has been to place its police department into a state of organizational paralysis, through lack of competent leadership and his failure to assimilate himself within the organization to build trust with the rank and file.

I pray the next Chicago Police Superintendent possesses the skill sets, competencies and common sense needed to motivate and gain the confidence, trust and respect of Chicago's Finest.

Mayor Daley has promised to work hard for Chicago in the final months of his administration. I would respectfully ask the Mayor to end this madness now. He needs to install a temporary Superintendent and give that person FULL AUTONOMY to clean house of the incompetent political hacks and place competent, effective police managers in critical positions TODAY.

In my humble opinion, this would be one of the best parting gifts he could give to this city. I am sure it would be embarrassing for the Mayor to concede that Weis was a failure, however... It takes a much bigger man to admit to a mistake and then take steps to correct that mistake, rather than stubbornly continue with the failures that have critically impacted the safety and security of Chicago in such huge ways.

Chicago cannot afford 7 more months of "business as usual" with the incompetent and politically corrupt leadership of Jody Weis at the helm of its police department.

Mayor Daley... please do what is right for Chicago. Please do it NOW!



Chicago: 13 People Shot, Including Cop, in 10 Hours

SOS: CHICAGO IS A WAR ZONE. When is enough enough?

Mayor Daley, we cannot wait any longer for new leadership at the Chicago Police Department. We need it TODAY.

Wednesday, Sept 15th @ 10am...

While the members of the Fraternal Order of Police march on Chicago Police HQ...

50,000 citizens of Chicago need to march on City Hall.

Demand change. Demand a safer Chicago.

Spread the word! Bring your signs - bring your voices. Bring everyone you know.

Be there!


An SOS has been sounded for Chicago: What will YOU do?

by John Andrews

We have much work to do... Stay focused, not on me, but the problems with public safety I brought to light.

The people of Chicago need to make a decision... Is this city safe to live in? Is it safe for our citizens? our children? our visitors?

I believe we need positive change now, not tomorrow. To change the status quo will require action on everyone's part.

On WGN Radio, I asked for 50,000 Chicagoans to assemble at Chicago City Hall on Wednesday, September 15th @ 10 am... to march for positive change in our police department and the safety of all Chicagoans.

So far, the mainstream Chicago media has ignored this call to action. With an understaffed and demoralized police force that cannot maintain social order on the streets of Chicago... With a murder rate of our citizens and children that is on par this year with the total number of miltary forces killed in BOTH Iraq and Afganistan... You have to ask yourself - WHY?

If we can get over a million people to come downtown to celebrate a Stanley Cup, can we get just a small fraction of that number... to care enough to take the time to stand up and voice their concern for the safety of our city... our people... our children?

The alarm has been sounded. Do not ignore the warning. The honorable guardians and centurions of this great city need YOUR help and they need it NOW!

A "Broken Arrow" has been called. This is a military code word that ground forces (CPD) have been overrun and (Chicago) faces imminent destruction. All available air forces (the people of Chicago) are to respond immediately to provide air support (their voices and actions).

This is an S-O-S message. Spread the word! On every channel, every frequency.

Who will answer the call? Does anyone really care?

Your city needs you... NOW!

Chicago City Hall - Wednesday, September 15th @ 10 a.m.
Be there! Bring your neighbors, family and friends.
The very future of Chicago may depend on it.
The synergy of a people can be quite infectious! Don't expect someone else to take action.
It begins with YOU!
Spread the word!

Make Sure This Cop Is Not Silenced

by Matt Farmer
The Huffington Post

If you draw a paycheck from the City of Chicago, it's usually not a good career move to criticize Mayor Daley and his top brass. But that didn't stop Lieutenant John R. Andrews, a twenty-five year veteran of the Chicago Police Department, from speaking out last month about Good King Rich and his court in an online essay entitled: A City at War with Itself: Chicago -- Fast Tracking to Anarchy (Understanding the Organizational Paralysis of the CPD and the Mission to Recovery).

Andrews' title is far more complicated than his message, which, in a nutshell, is this: (1) CPD is woefully understaffed; (2) street cops are regularly outgunned by bands of thugs who no longer fear the police; (3) the corrupt culture of Chicago cronyism has left a lasting stain on the department; and (4) as a result of all these things, morale on the force is at an all-time low.

Andrews, by all accounts, is not a loose cannon. Nor is he a guy in search of his fifteen minutes of fame. He's just a career cop who knew he was taking a risk by posting his controversial essay on a personal blog.

He told the Chicago Sun-Times' Neil Steinberg that he has had "zero disciplinary problems" during his quarter-century as a Chicago cop. Nevertheless, after blogging about Daley, Superintendent Jody Weis, the family Carothers, and others, he's become the target of a CPD internal affairs investigation. Go figure.

It remains to be seen whether the mayor and his men will be successful in their attack on the messenger. But one thing is clear -- they've had remarkably little success attacking Andrews' message.

If you want to know why that is, do two things. First, read the lieutenant's essay. Then, the next time you see a Chicago cop out and about, politely ask that officer whether he or she shares Andrews' concerns.

I've repeated this exercise many times over the last few weeks, and I've yet to have a cop tell me that Andrews is off-base or that Andrews exaggerates either the problems within CPD or the problems cops face daily on our city's streets. More often than not, I've gotten an earful about all that is wrong within both the department and City Hall.

The tone of the responses I've received hasn't surprised me in the least, because Andrews' basic message wasn't news to me. Several of my friends who are Chicago cops have been telling me the same general things for a couple of years now. What is news is that Andrews had the courage to go public with these problems and start naming names. Chicagoans from every neighborhood need to make sure this police veteran isn't hung out to dry for speaking truth to power.

Lt. John R. Andrews loves the many honorable men and women with whom he serves on the CPD. He also cares greatly about what the future holds for the law-abiding citizens of Chicago. That's why he's speaking out.

I'll do my best to have his back on this one, and I hope you will, too. He's probably going to need our help.

Chicago Police Lieutenant tells it like it is and now faces investigation

From Duke's Daily Blotter

Chicago Police Lieutenant John Andrews has become the target of what will no doubt be a good ole fashioned Chicago-style political witch hunt.

Lt Andrews did what most of us in law enforcement wish we had the guts to do. He signed his name. When he wrote a post on his blog describing the horrible working environment of the Chicago Police Department he stood up for every police officer in the nation.

We have all made comments, no one is ever completely happy and yes, sometimes the comments come from those with WCBS (Whiny Cry Baby Syndrome). But when you bury three officers that were just plain assassinated in a three month span, the time has come for someone to flip the light switch.

By turning on the lights, Andrews has not only embarrassed King Richard (Mayor Daley) and his merry band of yes men, he has made himself the focus of the supposed superintendent, Jody Weis. (He is no more a leader on the Chicago Police Dept than I am). Weis will simply do whatever Daley tells him to via his handler, Mike Masters. Now Lt Andrews will have to face the wrath of an Internal Affairs investigation.

Why didn't Andrews go to the bosses with his feelings? Why would he publicly speak out possibly placing himself in the unemployment line?

Well, let's see... Would they have listened? No. Would they have cared and made changes to fix the issues he brought up? No. Would he be facing King Richard's wrath anyways? Yes.

Lt John Andrews deserves the support of every police officer across the nation for standing up and making it known what really happens inside the walls of most police departments (big and small).


Plain Truth From a Policeman

by Joe Kulys

If you haven’t read what Chicago Police Lieutenant John Andrews has to say, you should.

Andrews, 51, has faithfully served as a Chicago Police officer for a quarter of a century.

Like thousands of other current and former cops in Chicago, he has become fed up with what the Chicago Police Department has become on Mayor Richard M. Daley’s watch.

Unlike the vast majority of them, he has gathered his thoughts and observations carefully and published them online---under his own name.

Andrews’ blog post is long---about 3,000 words---but it is “must” reading for anyone who wants to understand what is wrong with the Chicago Police Department---who made it that way and how we got to this point.

I insist that everyone reading my column go to highwayroadrunner.blogspot.com and read the post from July 19 entitled “A City at War With Itself: Chicago—Fast Tracking to Anarchy. (Understanding the Organizational Paralysis of the CPD and the Mission to Recovery).”

Andrews’ post is a measured, well reasoned look at the situation. He offers constructive criticism and proposes solutions. It is not at all the stereotypically angry, sniping, blow-off-some-steam cop blog.

Here’s the problem, though.

The Chicago Police Department is already taking retaliatory action against Lieutenant Andrews. Its Internal Affairs units filed a disciplinary action against him. The crux of the argument is that Andrews allegedly "brought discredit” to CPD with his blog post.

Rest assured that the order to discipline came directly from Police Supt. Jody Weis, with full approval of his Boss on the fifth floor of City Hall.

So this raises an interesting question: is it acceptable for a cop (or a firefighter or any public sector employee) to offer public criticism of his employer?

Some would say no. If this were the private sector and John Andrews were an employee of, say, General Motors or United Airlines or McDonald’s or Kmart or the local pizzeria, he’d be fired on the spot. And that would be that.

But is the public sector a different situation? In my opinion, it is---especially in a nation that calls itself the world’s greatest democracy.

I think in a free society, all of us---as taxpayers---have a right to publicly criticize our government that we fund with our own hard-earned wages. And that includes government employees; who after all are taxpayers, too.

City government is not Richard M. Daley’s private corporation. Not the Daley Family business. It belongs to us, the people of Chicago.

So if you think that Lieutenant Andrews---and all cops and other public employees---are within their rights to offer criticism of the government, just as the rest of us are, then let’s form a protective circle around him.

Contact Mayor Daley today---forget about Weis, he has no power---and let him know, in a firm and respectful manner, that you insist that no disciplinary action be taken against Lieutenant Andrews.

Let the mayor know that you are watching this case closely; and that what the mayor does or does not do will influence how you vote in the 2011 mayoral election.

Call (312) 744-3300 and leave your message. And go online to cityofchicago.org/contactus and click on the “feedback” form to send an email to the mayor.

Will you send a message to the mayor? Or will you keep your mouth shut like he wants you to?


An Open Letter to the Good People of Chicago and a Call to Action

Blog posts, newspaper articles, tv news segments and radio talk shows... while meant to inform the public of the dangerous state of Chicago... are just words... meaningless without action.

What do the people of Chicago really want?

If the people say nothing and do nothing, even by apathy, they condone the current state of affairs in this city. Nothing will change.

We are a Nation and a city of laws. The people of Chicago should not be reduced to "negotiating" with anyone to comply with the rule of law.

It is time for the people of Chicago to unify their voices... to demand positive change... for the common welfare of its society.

The people of Chicago deserve to live in peace in their homes, their blocks, their communities. They should accept nothing less.

The police, as part of and empowered by the community, are charged with the duty to keep all of Chicago safe. To be effective in that public mandate, the pollice must be staffed with adequate personnel... competent and honorable leadership... and the best tools available.

The Fraternal Order of Police, representing Chicago Police Officers, have stated that all of its members are aware of the dangerously low manpower within the Department that has created unsafe conditions for Chicago Police Officers and Chicago citizens alike.

The Board of Directors of Chicago Lodge #7 voted to stage a march that will take place on Wednesday, September 15, 2010 at 1000 hrs at Chicago Police Headquarters, 3510 S. Michigan Ave. It has encouraged all of its members to attend this march.

What is the will of the people of Chicago? The rule of law or the rule of terror?

The people of Chicago MUST take a stand, one way or the other. The will of the people (or the lack of it) will determine its future.

I respectfully request the good people of Chicago to rally and organize 50,000 of its citizens to answer this call to action with a loud and unified voice... to stage their own march at Chicago City Hall on Wednesday, September 15, 2010 at 10:00 a.m... the same date and time that its police force will march on its headquarters.

The good people of Chicago must decry the out of control public violence that continues to kill its children... its citizens...and its police officers who protect them.

The good people of Chicago must demand...
  • The positive changes needed to restore the rule of law to ALL Chicago neighborhoods
  • The adequate staffing, resources, and the compentent, honorable leadership for its police department to be effective in meeting this public mandate.
  • A refusal to negotiate for or accept anything less than a dedicated, responsive city government and a well trained, motivated police force, to protect their lives, their property and their liberty.
As a messenger and servant of the people, I have sounded the warning that many others have been afraid to. This warning can no longer be ignored or dismissed.

Who will answer this call? Will you answer this call?

Chicago needs you... NOW!


John Andrews

Citizen of Chicago
One of many honorable defenders who stand ready with a sworn duty to serve and protect this city and its people


In Third World America: Expect to be investigated as Lt. John Andrews is being investigated, for speaking up

by Janet Tavakoli

My first post about Arianna Huffington's new book, Third World America: How Our Politicians are Abandoning the Middle Class and Betraying the American Dream talked about the Great Recession, the Great Bailout, and the Great Cover-up of financial crimes, including massive and widespread predatory lending fueled by phony securities and derivatives. My second post talked about corruption and mismanagement that led to local fiscal problems and problems in city services. I used the Chicago Police Department's problems as an example and mentioned an essay by Lt. John Andrews, a 25-year CPD veteran, which was posted on his personal blog.

Yesterday's Chicago Tribune reported that Internal Affairs Department is investigating Lt. Andrews because of his essay. (The investigation was initiated before my August 25 post, but I was unaware of the investigation at the time I posted.)

According to the Tribune:

The charge against Andrews points to a comment he made regarding recently promoted Cmdr. Anthony Carothers. Carothers' brother Isaac is a former alderman who was sentenced to 28 months in federal prison this summer on bribery and tax charges.

Andrews referred to Carothers' promotion as a "recent example of alleged political corruption ties to top tier leadership." He said his promotion less than a month after his influential brother's sentencing gave the appearance of impropriety.

Police Superintendent Jody Weis wouldn't comment specifically on Andrews' case this week but spoke about how leaders are people who "look to inspire, motivate and look for solutions to challenges."

Lt. Andrews took a courageous step when he made his concerns about the Chicago Police Department public. He's an adult, and he knew there could be serious repercussions. He stepped forward anyway. The Chicago Tribune points out that if Lt. Andrews was speaking up as a matter of public interest as a concerned citizen, and not airing a private grievance, his essay should enjoy First Amendment protection:

There is a serious First Amendment issue here," said Sheldon Nahmod, a constitutional law and civil rights professor at Chicago-Kent College of Law.

Nahmod said free speech law should permit Andrews to post his comments without discipline as long as he's speaking as a public citizen and out of public concern, rather than simply airing personal grievances.

"(Andrews) was griping about the morale of the Police Department in general, the support it's getting from its supervisors, superiors and from politicians, and that's not the same thing as a personal gripe," Nahmod said.

After re-reading the essay, it seems to me it should enjoy First Amendment protection. You can decide for yourself, since his essay, "A City at War with Itself : Chicago -- Fast Tracking to Anarchy Understanding the Organizational Paralysis of the CPD and the Mission to Recovery," is still posted.

Third World America: 'Fast-Tracking to Anarchy'

By Janet Tavakoli

This article references my earlier writing

All Cops Must Protect Lt. John Andrews

By Paul Huebl

Chicago, IL—Chicago police Lt. John Andrews saw a catastrophic mess and his fellow officers and the public endangered. Chicago’s law enforcement problems are getting worse by the hour. Instead of trying to make anonymous and unverifiable claims Andrews had the incredible courage to publish his story about the destruction of a fine police agency by incompetent clout heavy cretins.

The department began a witch hunt and has snared one for a show trial. They want to terrorize every officer into silence by victimizing Lt. Andrews.

Too many people were hired and promoted in recent years that are simply unqualified to wear the uniform of a Chicago cop. Cops are hired and promoted with the simple qualifications of a political endorsement, sexual services or as organized crime moles.
Lives of Chicagoans and good cops are in jeopardy and someone had to take a stand to get corrective action. Lt. Andrews has nearly 28 years experience on the street and most of that as a trusted supervisor.

Chicago Police Commander Robert Klimas of Unit #121 made the complaint against Lt. Andrews obtaining a Complaint Register number. They hauled Lt. Andrews into the 35th Street woodshed and gave him his administrative rights to start the ball rolling for his separation from the department.

There is a First Amendment in America but Chicago police officers cannot exercise it by simply telling the truth. The real issue is the legitimacy of the article that damns political corruption. Instead of investigating Andrews they need to investigate the blatant transformation of a once proud police agency into a political cesspool.

All Illinois police officers need to do whatever it takes to protect Lt. John Andrews including job actions. Superintendent Jody “J-Fled” Weis deserves the wrath of every cop until he calls the dogs off of Lt. Andrews.

Every officer should write Weis a TO-FROM memorandum demanding that Andrews be cleared of the complaint and steps taken to correct the problems outlined in his article. Perhaps public demonstrations at the homes of Daley and Weis are in order. There are plenty of job actions short of a strike that will get nationwide attention.

If no action is taken by the rank and file officers that will only embolden Chicago’s political hacks into more punitive action.

The City of Chicago needs to find a qualified police superintendent that understands the mess, and they must give him the authority to fix it. I see a good man for that job that has in fact, demonstrated the leadership needed to help the department achieve its goals. May I suggest Lt. John Andrews for this job?



Fed-up cop rips 'hacks' running department

August 23, 2010

BY NEIL STEINBERG Sun-Times Columnist

To be a police officer is to make hard decisions. Stop this guy or that guy? Go through the front door or around the back? Shoot or don't shoot?

Later, those decisions get second-guessed, by the brass, by the media, by the officers themselves. Sometimes an action that some view as heroic others find deplorable.

On July 19, Lt. John R. Andrews made a hard decision. He'd had enough. He'd been silent long enough. After careful thought, he pressed a button on his home computer, posting online a 3,000-word critique of the Police Department with the academic-sounding title, "A City at War with Itself: Chicago -- Fast Tracking to Anarchy (Understanding the Organizational Paralysis of the CPD and the Mission to Recovery)."

He described a department "twisted into paralysis by organizational decimation, incompetent leadership, self-serving politics and corruption" singling out for particular scorn Supt. Jodi Weis' appointment last month of Anthony Carothers, brother of disgraced former Ald. Isaac Carothers, as commander of the Englewood District.

"The incompetent political hacks that have been positioned to lead us have only poisoned us as a department," Andrews writes. "They are an embarrassment to be associated with the many honorable men and women of the Chicago Police Department who serve its citizens daily with dignity and distinction."

Online criticism by police is nothing new; the web is spattered with blogs written by indignant cops. But Andrews included something that most do not -- he signed his name.

"I felt it was important to put my name on it because it's easy to dismiss the rantings of an anonymous blogger as a discontented employee," he told me. "But when you're dealing with an officer, a lieutenant of the Chicago Police Department, willing to put his name on it, I believed it would offer credibility to the argument I presented."

Many defend him.

"Any lieutenant you talk to would agree with him," said Bob Weisskopf, president of the 213-member Chicago Police Lieutenants Association.

Others don't. Last week, CPD Internal Affairs filed a disciplinary action against Andrews, claiming he "brought discredit to the Chicago police department by posting on an Internet blog."

Asked for elaboration, the CPD would say only "the comments are under review."

Andrews certainly minces no words, calling Weis' tenure "an unrecoverable failure," and describing a department that is exhausted, understaffed, and reluctant to do its job.

"With the apparent lack of support from the city or their own leadership, many police officers have reduced their proactive performance and now only contribute at minimum levels," he writes.

Andrews could be fired.

"I don't believe it's right or just or even lawful," said Andrews, 51, who lives in Clearing on the Southwest Side. "I'm an exemplary employee with zero disciplinary problems. I've been a cop for almost 26 year now. They just want to intimidate me, to muzzle me, so I don't continue embarrassing them."

I occasionally hear from dissatisfied officers; they usually turn out to be chronic complainers with laundry lists of gripes. Andrews doesn't fit that mold.

"John is anything but a loose cannon," said Bill Kushner, now retired, but with the department for 29 years before becoming the chief of police in Berwyn. "John is a very intelligent individual, very much in control of himself, his emotions. He loves the Chicago Police Department, he loves the city of Chicago. I think his writing was born out of frustration with the way thing are going. The department is a shell of itself -- they're 3,000 people short. He seems to have hit the nail on the head and has to be commended for his courage."

"It's a constitutional rights issue," said Weisskopf. "He has a right to free speech. Are they now going to be monitoring everything we do and say anywhere? I think it's a big mistake for the department [to go after him], but it's very indicative of the way they've been over the past few years."

Perhaps. But in what other business could a mid-level executive -- that's what a lieutenant basically is -- post a screed denouncing his company's leaders as corrupt incompetents and still keep his job?

You look at Andrews' resume -- a master's degree in "organizational leadership" from Lewis University -- and he obviously is a guy who thought he'd be going places. It is not the resume of someone who didn't want to rise through the ranks.

"If I were a command member of the Chicago Police Department, a gold star, and was to say something critical of the department like this, obviously I would lose my command," he said. "I would be demoted, would be held in utter disdain. That would be a career breaker. Myself, yes, I had aspirations of rising higher than the rank of lieutenant. I don't think it'll happen now that I've done what I've done. But not everybody has to be a chief. Maybe there are too many chiefs already. Maybe we need some stronger Indians.
I've never seen it like this in 25 years at the Chicago Police Department, never seen it descend to such a level. We need change."

Andrews said this isn't about him.

"The alarm needed to be sounded," he said. "Too many people on this job are afraid to say anything. I'm not on a soapbox, trying to rant. I want to sound a warning. We really need to change. I'm not doing this for myself, absolutely. I'm not naive. I knew there would personal risks and consequences."

"I don't believe I've brought discredit to the Police Department. I believe they have."

Chicago Police Lieutenant Writes Blog
Critical of Police Department, Jody Weis

By Craig Wall, FOX Chicago News

Chicago - Chicago Police Superintendent Jody Weis is facing questions about a very critical blog written by a police lieutenant.

The author, John Andrews, is now under investigation by internal affairs, and knows he very well could lose his job for publicly criticizing those running the department. He minces no words in his blog or in his defense of it.

"We have lost control of maintaining social order in many parts of Chicago, we are undermanned, we're wore out, staffing is at dangerous levels, leadership is absent and some of those who claim to be our leaders are incompetent," Andrews said.

Other cops have criticized the department before, but Andrews is a hero of sorts to some rank-and-file because he signed his name.

He said he felt compelled to write the blog after the murder of the third chicago police officer in recent months.

The superintendent was not happy.

"I think leaders in today's times should look to inspire, motivate and look for solutions to challenges," said Weis. "I don't think leaders should throw rocks at their respective agencies, at those who are actually trying to adress the challenges."

Now that he's spoken up, Andrews refuses to be quiet.

"I looked at everything that was going on and I said, 'We need change,'" Andrews said. "And I decided if no one else was gonna step up and say what really needed to be said, to sound the warning bells to the citizens of Chicago, I gotta do it."


I believe this picture requires no further explanation.

Thanks to a friend and fellow Fillmore Ranger for sharing this with me on Facebook.

This is an interesting read from the blog of  "... With Both Hands." I thank the author for the kind words and understanding of the continuing challenges facing the members of the Chicago Police Department.


Action vs Inaction

On the subject of action vs. inaction...

I am reminded of a few quotes by our 35th President, John Fitzgerald Kennedy...

"There are risks and costs to a program of action, but they are far less than the long range risks and costs of comfortable inaction."

"One person can make a difference and every person should try."

"Those who dare to fail miserably can achieve greatly."

"Dante once said that the hottest places in hell are reserved for those who in a period of moral crisis maintain their neutrality."

... and a few more from our 26th President, Theodore Roosevelt...

"In any moment of decision, the best thing you can do is the right thing, the next best thing is the wrong thing, and the worst thing you can do is nothing."

“Far better is it to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checked by failure...than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy much nor suffer much, because they live in a gray twilight that knows not victory nor defeat.”

“The only man who makes no mistakes is the man who never does anything.”

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again; because there is not effort without error and shortcomings; but who does actually strive to do the deed; who knows the great enthusiasm, the great devotion, who spends himself in a worthy cause, who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement and who at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly. So that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat.”

“Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.”


Follow-up to "A City at War With Itself: Chicago - Fast Tracking to Anarchy

To those that took the time to read A City At War With Itself... , I thank you.

Gone Viral
It is my understanding it has gone viral, with feedback that people have received it all over the United States and overseas. There was also a thread at the Second City Cop blog in response to my writing, with a number of positive and supportive comments posted.

For those unaware, SCC is the "unofficial and very irreverant blog" of the Chicago Police Department. It is "the" source that everyone at CPD goes to get the skinny on what is going on inside and outside the department. Mainstream media outlets in Chicago continually cite SCC in various news reporting, giving it increased legitimacy, much to the disgust of CPD top brass (although they go and read it too).

I hope my writing inspires thought and even debate that develops into reasonable, realistic and positive actions within individual circles of influence. Positive change that can be created by ANY of us will benefit ALL of us.

Even the "Haters" Agree
While even the "haters" that posted comments at the SCC blog concur with the content of my writing, it was unfortunate they expressed little thought in the message but instead focused their energies at "stoning" the messenger. I am not naive - bashing is a norm we at CPD have come to expect on the SCC blog, which adds to its unique flavor and value. Everyone is entitled to their opinion and I respect their right to express it (although anonymously).. good, bad or otherwise.

Stay Focused on the Message
Just remember, John Andrews is not the message here. The deterioration of Chicago and its police department is the message. As we go forward, I hope we can focus on the message, as that is where our collective energies and actions need to be placed.

Does He Have a Personal Agenda?
In publishing my writing, I did not have any hidden or personal agendas as some have speculated. What you see is what you get. I have served on the Chicago Police Department for over 25 years. I am certainly not bucking for a promotion to become financially devalued from my current level, nor do I need to be "noticed." While I understand and accept that everyone can't be a "chief" (we have too many "chiefs" already), I do believe we can all develop ourselves to become very strong "indians."

Many in the "high command" at CPD know me, as we have worked together or known each other at various assignments throughout our careers. In fact, I am sure that many of them who read my writing were shaking their heads, yet grinning and saying to themselves, "There he goes again...He is so un-PC..." You can bet there were probably a few other "gold stars" that were shocked, as they should be.

I just said publicly what needed to be said - what everyone at CPD was already saying privately amongst themselves. It was time to call bullshit, even though consequences may result.

Dysfunction: Organizational Values Not Aligned With Organizational Actions
What needs to be "noticed" and "looked hard at" is the direction we are headed as a department. It seems that in many ways we are self-destructing. Very simply put, our organizational values are not in alignment with our organizational actions. It is an unrealistic expectation that members will believe in the mission, let alone perform successfully, with such dysfunction. This cannot continue. We must change.

The True Agents of Change
We have some really bright and dedicated people on this police department - many of them unrecognized. I am sure many of you have some great ideas on how to turnaround our demoralized department. Every voice counts and every voice should be heard. Now is the time for YOU to step up.

Don't sit back and think you can't make a difference - because you can. Do what you can, where you can, when you can. Just do it right. It all counts. Whether a formal leader or an informal leader, every officer is a leader. Believe it!

Some Guiding References
If you are interested, there are two really good books out there that I would encourage you to look at:

Character and Cops: Ethics in Policing
by Edwin J. Delattre

Every Officer is a Leader: Transforming Leadership in Police, Justice and Public Safety
by Terry D. Anderson

Finally, I would like to acknowledge the SCC blog poster that provided Theodore Roosevelt's The Man in the Arena. That was a timely inspiration for all of us. Thank you.

Some people MAKE things happen, some WATCH things happen, while others WONDER what has happened. Which will YOU be?

Work safe!

John Andrews


Fun With the Family in Texas

Welcome to the sizzling south!

I rode my white horse down from Chicago to visit with my brothers in Texas.

Along the way I saw this sign on the Interstate in Missouri. I actually had to turn around and go back to take this picture.

It sure would be nice if some Chicagoans took a little effort to show some appreciation for their "red collar" public safety workers. My old neighbor Bob Sirott (Fox 32 News) recently was saying something along the same lines. I might have to bend his ear about this when I return home. Anyway...

The plan was to ride straight through to Fort Worth, as I have done a few times in the past. Now I know the feeling from the words of that Toby Keith song, "I ain't as good as I once was..." ha ha ha. The heat and humidity finally told me to take a break and make it a two day ride. I did make it as a far as Miami, Oklahoma on the first day. The Hampton Inn there was very nice.

While here in the Republic, I am catching up on everything going on down here with the family. The niece and nephews are growing up so fast. One of my nephews is working as part of a research team on a "classified project" for NASA.

We have been spending some time on the farm, where one brother is planning to build his dream home. After roughing in a road on the property, he set off to build his "man cave", which is almost complete. He also brought in some large rocks and is planning to build a waterfall on the property.This week he is planning to drill a water well. Land is cleared for their home, horse barn and riding arena. It should look real nice once it is all finished.

Sunday afternoon we went with the kids to go fishing at the pond there. We all had a blast just watching them (and taking their fish off the hooks). Oh, did I mention it was hot? I think the temps hit 100! It was still fun though. We had plenty of cold water... lol.

My brother is letting me play with one of his toys while I am down here. It is a 400 hp V-8 Chevy Camaro SS, with paddle shifters. It looks like "Bumblebee" from the Transformers. All I can say is that it is faster than any police car I have driven. Hopefully, I will not need to be explaining myself to any members of Texas DPS on how much fun I am having while driving it (wink wink).



The Death of a City Comes Only When its Centurions Give Up the Fight

In memory of all who have served before us and all who have fallen, let us never give up the fight for our city!

The decent law-abiding citizens of Chicago are depending on us!

A City at War With Itself: Chicago - Fast Tracking To Anarchy (Understanding the Organizational Paralysis of the CPD and the Mission to Recovery)

A City at War with Itself : Chicago - Fast Tracking to Anarchy
Understanding the Organizational Paralysis of the CPD and the Mission to Recovery

Everyone in Chicago knows it. Almost everyone in America knows it. In fact, a lot of people throughout the world know. Chicago is a city at war with itself - fast tracking to anarchy.

Leading us there have been two major root causes - public violence and public corruption. While Chicago has been under attack with its people fearful and hiding, its police department was twisted into paralysis by organizational decimation, incompetent leadership, self-serving politics and corruption.

After three dead cops in less than 60 days, the men and women of the Chicago Police Department are saying, "Enough!!!" We are sickened that our world-class police department has deteriorated into ruin in only a few short years. We are tired of a leaderless department. We are angry at an unsupportive mayor.

We must rise up together to take this city back from the thugs, gangs and rogues that infect our city. The good people of Chicago must also take a stand against the corrupt politicians and their cronies that have bled our city and police department dry.

We must not be stopped. We will not be deterred. We will not be corrupted. Our mission is clear. We must return Chicago to its peaceful, law-abiding citizens. We cannot fail!

Public Violence

Homicides, shootings and gang related crimes are sucking the life out of this city. Daily, people are shot and killed on our streets over conflicts with gangs and drugs. Our children are not immune from the victimization as they too are targets or suffer as collateral damage from stray gunfire.

Most horrific for Chicago is that in less than 60 days, Chicago has lost 3 of its police officers, killed by gunfire as victims of robberies. It seems no one is safe in our city anymore.

Chicago's homicide rate this year currently stands toe-to-toe with the total number of military forces killed in both Afghanistan and Iraq.

Thugs, gangs and renegade groups run the streets and neighborhoods, intimidating and victimizing the decent citizens of this city. They go mostly unchallenged and unchecked by a totally demoralized police force that is dangerously understaffed and still out-gunned on the streets.

Public Corruption

The continued participation in public corruption activities appears to be much more important to Chicago's power elite than addressing the public safety dilemmas of its citizens.

While public corruption has always been a problem in Chicago, it seems to have become more overt than ever. It is amazing how politicians and the "connected ones" can act so openly now and with such impunity.

Political Corruption within the Police Department

A recent example of alleged political corruption ties to top tier leadership in the Chicago Police Department.

While Superintendent Jody Weis recently appointed Lieutenant Anthony Carothers to Commander of the Englewood District, his appointment has been received by the rank & file with utter disdain. They and some city residents call the appointment of Carothers a true lack of ethical consideration by the Superintendent.

Interestingly, the newly appointed Commander Anthony Carothers is the brother of Isaac Carothers, the Chicago Alderman recently convicted on charges of public corruption in Federal Court. Ironically, their father, William Carothers, also served as a Chicago Alderman until his conviction on public corruption charges in 1983.

A simple Google search of Anthony Carothers revealed a Federal Court civil action judgment that was entered against him in 1985. Then a Cook County Deputy Sheriff, Anthony acted in concert with his brother Isaac, in activities of intimidation, physical violence and abuses of authority against Arthur Turner, who was campaigning against their imprisoned father's aide for Alderman.

Clout Rules Supreme

Anthony Carothers has reportedly never been promoted by competitive examination score to the ranks of sergeant or lieutenant in the CPD. Instead, those ranks were given to him as "meritorious appointments." Promotions, along with a career full of prestigious assignments, flowed freely while his brother Isaac served as the powerful chairman of the Chicago City Council Committee on Police and Fire.

Carothers is just one the numerous political aristocracies this city and this police department has been forced to endure. The incompetent political hacks that have been positioned to lead us have only poisoned us as a department. They are an embarrassment to be associated with the many honorable men and women of the Chicago Police Department who serve its citizens daily with dignity and distinction. His story is here only because it is the newest. There are others... many others.

Police Superintendent Within the Circle of Corruption?

Yet, in the first set of command staff changes at CPD after the conviction of Alderman Isaac Carothers, we see the gravy train has not stopped for his brother Anthony.

Superintendent Jody Weis promoted the convicted Alderman's brother to Commander of the Englewood District and then publicly boasted that once again he was promoting the "brightest and best" in the Chicago Police Department?

Does Weis really believe the men and women of the CPD will drink the kool-aid and respect or follow people like Anthony Carothers as their leaders?

What overt message was the Superintendent sending to the members of the Chicago Police Department?

• That public corruption is a good?
• That public corruption is to be accepted?
• That public corruption is to be rewarded?
• That leaders of city government and the police department act corrupt themselves by protecting the interests (taking care of family and friends) of corrupt public officials who have been convicted of VIOLATING THE PUBLIC TRUST ???

"This smells of a thousand hogs", as a Chicago newspaperman once wrote.

Was Jody Weis bought and paid for ($310,000/yr) the Chicago way? One might wonder...

Chicago Police: What Happened to Them?

As the spiral of violence in Chicago has increased, people have been asking when the police will be "turned loose" to do their job and restore the rule of law on the streets in Chicago. Many have been pleading with both the Mayor and Superintendent to open their eyes, wake up and do something... to little avail.

After the homicide of the third Chicago police officer within the past 60 days, a police captain posted on a social media site, " Do you think it's about time we take the kid gloves off?", inferring the lack of administrative leadership and fortitude in addressing Chicago's violent crime problems. Yes, the time to take off the kid gloves is well past "long overdue." Perhaps the police should have never put them on in the first place?

A lot has changed over the past several years. The Chicago Police Department is no longer that world class law enforcement agency it once was. In a few short years it has deteriorated into a totally demoralized, understaffed police department that criminals no longer fear.

Paralysis within the Police Department

Contributing factors that have led to the paralysis of the CPD:

• Decimation of existing top-tier leadership by incoming Superintendent
• Lack of leadership / Administrative incompetence
• Overt political corruption within the ranks
• Reductions in field strength levels that have left personnel in dangerous working conditions
• Reductions in field strength levels that have severely limited police effectiveness at protecting life and property or maintaining order on Chicago streets.

Based on the above and other contributing factors, the rank and file of the Chicago Police Department do not have confidence in their leadership. They perceive a number of current "bosses" as incompetent, politically corrupt, or both - beginning with the mayor and police superintendent.

Let's look at some of the conditions of CPD's organizational paralysis...

Fatal Flaws: Lost From the Beginning

When incoming Superintendent Jody Weis arrived on the scene in Chicago, the CPD was already suffering from very low morale, most notably from the Special Operations Section (SOS) and Abatte scandals that were highlighted repeatedly in the mass media. The hard working and honest police officers of this city were being unfairly painted with the broad brush of these two issues. With public perception of the CPD at a very low point, it made the job of serving as a Chicago police officer even harder.

Weis, a career FBI agent, never had experience as a police officer or in managing a local law enforcement agency - let alone the #2 police department in the United States. His earliest decisions and actions would mark his tenure as an unrecoverable failure.

Weis's first fatal flaw as Superintendent was to flex his muscles in a misguided demonstration of "Federal oversight" of the CPD in what has become "The Cozzi Incident." Without going into the well known details here, Weis facilitated a Federal prosecution of a police officer AFTER the officer already had been prosecuted at the State level and received severe administrative discipline from the CPD. Many believed that Cozzi had already been punished, both legally and administratively for his misconduct. Many also believed that while Cozzi's conduct in the incident was not acceptable, it did not rise to the level that warranted an additional Federal prosecution, as was the case with the Rodney King incident in Los Angeles. This single action by Weis was viewed by the rank & file of the department as excessive and draconian. The result was an instant and unrecoverable alienation of Weis from the members of the Chicago Police Department.

Weis's second fatal flaw was to almost immediately decimate the entire top-tier leadership of the department. Instead of working with the existing and experienced senior police managers to better understand how the CPD operated and ease organizational change over time (as Bratton had done when arriving as the new Chief at LAPD from NYPD), Weis summarily dismissed this trusted knowledge base and replaced it with inexperienced lower level command staff and some trusted FBI people that he brought in with him. This was a shock to the department's culture and operation that not only proved to be ineffective, it set the CPD into an immediate tail spin, from which it has not recovered.

The third fatal flaw of the Weis superintendency was really no fault of his own. Weis installed a trusted confidant he brought with him from the FBI as his chief of staff. In such a sensitive position, any smart police executive would have done the same. A chief of staff serves as the eyes and ears of the Superintendent, offering him additional insight and assumedly trusted guidance. Mayor Daley was to have none of that and instead forced Weis to remove his guy and install the Mayor's guy (Mike Masters) instead. It became instantly clear to Weis that he was not running the CPD - City Hall was. While there have been previous chiefs of staff at CPD (who were wired directly to City Hall), Masters has been perceived by the department as the "chief political officer" who has created extreme controversy and dissention within the department - most notably by back-dooring his way into obtaining the "sworn" status of a peace officer. While Weis has been forced to accept Masters and publicly states he has a great working relationship with him, the truth is that Masters keeps Weis on a tight leash, as you rarely see one without the other.

Police Officers Fear Reprisals From Performing Their Duties

With the apparent lack of support from the city or their own leadership, many police officers have reduced their proactive performance and now only contribute at minimum levels. When asked, most will freely tell you that they do not want to place themselves, their families and livelihoods at risk from a perceived Machiavellian police superintendent or other incompetent "bosses" that could lead them into legal trouble that would risk their liberty and freedom (jail).

Command Staff - Lost Leadership, Lost Passion, Lost Compensation, Lost Value

Even competent command staff members who have been looking for guidance and overall department direction when running their commands have frequently asked each other, "Who is steering the ship?"

Now, as "insanity relief" more and more command staff members are openly ridiculing what they call the "Weis-Masters Show" (superintendent and his chief of staff).

Command staff members are quickly losing their passion to lead. Being non-unionized management, the mayor has required they take 24 unpaid furlough days in 2010 (up from 12 unpaid days in 2009 and 6 unpaid days in 2008). Rumor is strong that Daley wants them to submit to 52 unpaid furlough days in 2011. They are questioning their de-valued status and consequently, their loyalty to the goals and objectives of the department.

It is an unrealistic expectation for a District Commander (knowing every Captain and Lieutenant working under them is making more money than they are) to remain loyal to the mission or continue to be positive contributors under these conditions. If 2011 brings 52 unpaid furlough days, most Sergeants will be making more than "the boss."

Who would want to assume or maintain a command leadership position under these circumstances?

It breeds more of "who is going to steer the ships?"

The Reduction of Police Staffing and the Corresponding Reduction of Police Effectiveness

Police field strength levels (especially during overnight hours) have long ago sunk to levels of ineffectiveness at maintaining public order in some Chicago neighborhoods. You can forget about proactive police patrols serving as a visible deterrence to crime. There are just not enough police officers on the street anymore.

Police officers, responding to calls, sometimes turn the corner into a hurricane of crap. Some incidents have required assistance from police officers FIVE DISTRICTS away before public order could be restored.

Law Breakers Have No Fear of the Police

As one sergeant working the midnight watch stated, "There are not enough of us out there. We respond to these out-of-control street parties and order the people to disperse. Now they just stare at us, daring us to do something about it. It's just insane out here. I can't wait to retire."

Extreme staffing reductions are not only dangerous for police officers, they further increase tensions on the street when police are required to take law enforcement actions.

Adversely, the thugs and gang bangers know this too and are now more aggressively and violently challenging police authority. This has resulted in an increase of injury-on-duty claims by police officers, which further contributes to the problems of inadequate field strength levels.

Lost Public Confidence in Public Safety = National Guard

Citizens have seen and felt the reduced police presence in their neighborhoods, along with the resulting epidemic rises of violent crime.

Frustrated and scared, they and some Illinois lawmakers have been calling for deployment of the army national guard on the streets of Chicago to help restore order, as the public is losing confidence in the capability of the Chicago Police Department to do so.

While the mayor has so far rejected such a need, weary and understaffed police officers and supervisors, working the midnight watch in many police districts are seeing things differently.

First Watch (Midnights): The Most Understaffed and Dangerous Watch of All

Complaints of inadequate staffing levels of police on the street continue to come from all watches, but most notably the first watch (midnights). They continue to report that there are not enough police officers assigned to effectively address the demands for police service (911 calls), let alone chronic neighborhood disorder incidents like illegal street and house parties.

It is common knowledge throughout the Chicago Police Department that multiple beat cars are routinely "downed" each day throughout the city, as there are no officers to staff the car for the shift . Many other beat cars are rolling in Chicago on the 3rd & 1st watches (afternoons and midnights) with only one officer instead of two, as is the standard staffing policy at night.

Exhausted and understaffed, officers and supervisors on these watches are now saying that if Chicago is not going to hire more police officers, they would welcome the national guard's assistance, especially on midnights.

Where We Stand Now: The Realities of Organizational Leadership at CPD

• We can no longer afford organizational or personal inaction as a consequence of the incompetent and/or politically corrupt "leaders" of our police department or our city.
• We cannot wait for competent, effective leadership to be delivered to us.

We must develop, identify and implement "bottom-up" leadership at every level of the Department. If you can and your superior can't or won't - then just do it. Don't wait any longer for someone else to do it. There just might not be anyone else.

From Paralysis to Productivity - Our Duty to Get There - No Matter What

What is needed at CPD today:

• Competent leaders empowered to lead the willing
• Sufficient field strength to effectively overcome resistance
• Restored trust and confidence in both the Department and city government

Our duty and responsibility today, as police managers and supervisors... and even as police officers... is to work at getting us there.

While dealing with resource scarcity and navigating the political land mines, we must...

• Ensure the display of positive and competent leadership daily, as an example to all, despite the limitations of some of our superiors.
• Continually identify, develop and empower truly competent leaders within the Department, recognizing the value of "informal leaders" of any rank - in every unit. When competent leaders are utilized, the willing shall follow.

These are critical and key first steps to turnaround and success. I cannot over state this enough. The sparks must be ignited NOW in every unit, on every watch, on every team. These new sparks must carefully be nurtured into a flame, grown into a fire, then fanned into a blaze.

Taking the High Road

We must remain focused on the mission and our purpose. We have taken a solumn oath to uphold and defend the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of the State of Illinois. As law enforcers, we operate within the law.

Always the Hard Way - Perseverance

Understanding the reality that no organization is perfect (or ever will be), we still must rise to meet the challenges before us, despite the adversities and risks involved.

Sometimes we will have to work around obstacles (physical, political and organizational) to get the job done. I know this will not be easy. Some days may be better than others. From time to time, expect to encounter resistance, obstruction, or attempts at derailment from the personal or political agendas of others. Don't become discouraged - never give up.

Be vigilant. Stay committed.

The decent, law-abiding people of Chicago are depending on us.

Some follow up comments I wrote after the original writing:

Work Safe!

John Andrews

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A City At War With Itself: Chicago - Fast Tracking to Anarchy (Understanding the Organizational Paralysis of CPD and the Mission to Recovery) by John R. Andrews is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License.