CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) - Chicago Police officers made dramatically fewer arrests in 2015 than they did in the previous year, according to figures just released by the department.
Total arrests were down 12 percent, but the drop off was even greater for most major crimes, including murder, robbery, burglary and sexual assault.
The Fraternal Order of Police said morale could be a significant factor.
“I've not seen it this bad in the 35 years I've been around,” said Dean Angelo Sr., FOP President
For the majority of cops who serve and protect as they are sworn to do, it is a time of significant scrutiny that has many of them cautious. Perhaps overly cautious.
It's what is commonly referred to as the post-Ferguson affect and it may be translating into the drop-off in arrests.
“The lack of wanting to be the next headline has something to do with it, the downturn in morale is another contributing factor,” Angelo said.
In 2015 officers made 15,623 fewer arrests. The numbers dropped from 128,730 arrests in 2014, to 113,107 in 2015. That’s an average of 1300 fewer arrests every month.
“I believe that this is a trend that might not be short-lived,” Angelo said.
But the ACLU said it's hard to accurately interpret the numbers without seeing a complete breakdown, crime by crime.
“But what I do know is that it's possible to police in a constitutional manner and that's something we can expect and demand from our police department,” said Karen Sheley, ACLU Senior Staff Attorney.
Stop and Frisk's are also way down so far this year, 77 percent, after ACLU pressure replaced the old contact cards with a multi-page detailed report.
Perhaps it's due to better policing, or maybe because officers don't want the paperwork headache. Either way the ACLU says that should not translate into a spike in crime.
“When the NYPD dramatically reduced its stop and frisk program there wasn't an increase in crime, that's been pretty consistent across other cities too,” Sheley said.