FOX 32 NEWS - Chicago’s Police Superintendent was on the defensive Wednesday after his department came under national criticism for the skyrocketing violence that plagued Chicago in 2016.
There were 762 murders last year, which is a 57 percent increase from the year before. Add to that more than 4300 shootings and the City of Big Shoulders was more often thought of as the city with big problems.
On Sunday, former police Superintendent Garry McCarthy, who was fired in 2015 in the wake of the Laquan McDonald shooting, went on '60 Minutes' and among other things called the Chicago Police a department in crisis.
“I disagree with the fact, of characterizing us as a department in crisis, because we're not. We did get off to a rocky start in 2016, for a number of reasons, but we stabilized things and so now we're putting things in place to focus on fighting his crime,” Superintendent Eddie Johnson said.
His comments came after Johnson and Mayor Rahm Emanuel welcomed 135 newly promoted detectives, lieutenants and field training officers. Johnson said they will be a part of the new reforms that the department will be implementing over the next two years. He stressed to them the importance of patience, empathy and integrity.
“You have to have integrity, no matter what you do on this job, it helps you earn trust not only with the people you serve, but of your colleagues,” Johnson told the officers.
Mayor Rahm Emanuel also found himself under fire this week because of Chicago's violent 2016. In a tweet, President-elect Donald Trump pointed to the murders and shootings and said if the mayor can't do it, he must ask for federal help. The mayor welcomed that.
"They can begin to increase their investments in after school and summer jobs, which have been on the decline, they can actually play a role not just with the police department, but with the ATF, the Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms Department, or Bureau, the Drug Enforcement Agencies, the FBI,” said Mayor Rahm Emanuel. “The federal partners that do work with the police can be increased, the certainty around prosecution can play a significant role.”
He also said finger pointing won’t do anything to help quell the violence, but he believes some of the department’s proactive reforms policies, such as having officers wear body cameras and carry tasers, can help the city turn things around.