Friday, December 21, 2007

Jean Dixon Wannabes -- This is for You

by Sara Paretsky

Calling all Jean Dixon wannabes. Forecast the future. Tell us, what lies ahead for Chicago under new Police Superintendent (designate) Jody Weis? When he was Special Agent in Charge of the Philadelphia FBI, he indicted an electrical contractor for allegedly pilfering $869,000 from union funds, he broke up the pizza terrorist ring, and he was able to restore the original manuscript of Pearl Buck's The Good Earth to the Buck family trust after it had been stolen by Buck's former secretary. Obviously, the mayor had access to way more information than I do on how Weis handled these tricky operations.

The CPD is going through one of its sine-curve peaks of bad deeds and bad vibes. The Burge torture cases leave a lingering cloud over the force. Six members of the elite Special Operations Section are under investigation, for "issues" including planning the murder of an SOS officer who was cooperating with an investigation into the unite. The video-taping of officers assaulting women in bars has also caused some eyebrows to be raised, at least after people stopped their endless prurient viewing of the tapes on YouTube. Steve Mills recently wrote in the Tribune about the number of times Chicago Police shoot suspects in the back--hundreds--and the times they're investigated or reprimanded--close to zero.

Jody Weis helped fire Chicago FBI agent Robert Wright for publicly criticizing the FBI's anti-terrorist acts. Does this mean he'll stifle dissent here in Chicago? Or does it simply mean he'll run an orderly ship? Will he help the African-American community combat decades of harassment and false arrest? Will he be able to bring officers like Burge to justice?

Look into your crystal balls, you seekers of truth, justice, or prurient excitement. How will Chicago fare under the Mayor's handpicked choice?


Hope said...

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thatguy said...

The appointment of Jody Weis as the new superintendent of police according to your own commentary and biographical work record of Jody Weis’s accomplishments certainly heralds a more honest record of doing business is now at hand. Honest intent must be accompanied by actions and deeds. Here, we can look forward to a flesh air of honesty has been blown toward Chicago.

Maryann Mercer said...

My crystal ball is cloudy,with occasional flashes of a silver lining. Has anything political really changed since my childhood during what we called The Daley Machine? To hear the folks here on the prairie, the answer is no, although I doubt some of them have been in Chicago for more than a day or two at a time. Easy to judge from a distance.I love the city, but I'm one of those pessimistic optimists when it comes to government, so I'll say change will come, windows will rattle, and maybe, just maybe, it won't all be business as usual. For a while. We can hope anyway.

Pete said...

Another question: how long will it be before Weis becomes just another go-with-the-flow adherent to "the Chicago way of doing business"? Sure, he's a righteous outsider now, but give him time - the system will get him.

Michael Dymmoch said...

In case you've forgotten, the last time a Chicago mayor appointed an outsider to head the CPD, the changes were huge.

Let's give this guy a chance to show his stuff.

Jay Yardley said...

I guess I worry about 2 things. Why did the mayor do this on his own, without his (hand-picked) search team's knowledge?
And there don't seem to be any big cases Mr. Weis dealt with at the FBI, except to make sure a critic of their anti-terror policy was hounded in a very public way and forced to resign. Since there's a very big problem in Chicago with police cover-up on torture, shootings of civilians, and behavior of the Special Operations Session, I wonder how serious Mr Weis will be about housecleaning