Picture this. You hate your boss. They brought him in a few years ago from another city overlooking applicants for the big job who had given years of service to the organization. So you grab a picket sign and put his name on it and stand outside of his office telling the world you want your boss gone. You and your coworkers spend the morning picketing outside of his office and even develop catchy slogans calling for him to go.
While that might sound like fun for a day, most of us wouldn’t have a job come tomorrow. Only in Chicago is this normal behavior. Last week nearly 300 Chicago police officers actually did just that. They arrived in the morning by the busload outside of the office of Chicago Police Superintendent Jody Weis carrying signs calling for an increased number of police officers on the city streets and the resignation of their boss Jody Weis.
Of course, these were unionized police officers and in the world of Chicago, so long as you are in a labor union you can get away with just about anything. Weis, a former FBI agent, was brought to Chicago by Mayor Richard Daley to clean up corruption in the police force. Considering this, it is no mystery why some Chicago police officers may want Jody Weis gone.
In any police force there will be charges of corruption and investigations of misconduct, particularly in a city the size of Chicago. However, prior to bringing Jody Weis to Chicago, the Chicago Police Department was often the subject of media coverage of police misconduct. Cases like that of Officer Anthony Abbate, an off duty officer who was caught on video tape severely beating a female bartender brought increased recognition to the problem as the video captured worldwide media attention. Abbate was eventually convicted but sentenced to probation only and received no jail time.
Also angering the union protesters was Weis’s handling of the case of Officer William Cozzi who was caught on a hospital video tape beating a man who was in a wheelchair. Although the city suspended Cozzi without pay for two years and considered the issued closed, Jody Weis referred the case to Federal Prosecutors.
The day before the protest, Superintendent Weis dismissed the union’s demands that he resign as “soap opera” and was not present for the demonstration. However, Jody Weis is not one to back down to union bullying. In a recent letter to the Chicago Sun Times Weis defended his job performance on the Chicago police force saying “Leadership is not about being popular: it is about making difficult decisions and doing the right thing,”
Considering the fact that Chicago citizens and minorities in particular, often live in fear of the Chicago Police, and that the department has a long and recent history of corruption it seems that Jody Weis may be just what Chicago needs. Although Weis is clearly not intimated by the union leaders, many believe that with Mayor Daley announcing that he will step down from the position next March, it will also mean an end to Weis’s career with the department. As for the citizens of Chicago, we can only hope that the next Mayor of Chicago will retain Jody Weis as Superintendent and will have what it takes not to bow to the demands of the police union.
“300 Cops protest, demand that Weis resign,” William Lee and Dawn Rhodes, Chicago Tribune, Retrieved from:
“Cop Anthony Abbate gets probation, no jail, for beating female bartender,” Associated Press, Retrieved from:
“Ill. cop sentence for beating manin wheelchair,” CBS13, Retrieved from: http://cbs13.com/nationalcbs13.com/national/police.wheelchair.beating.2.1041570.html