The people of Chicago were called to the polls to elect a new Mayor. After receiving less than 20% of all votes, incumbent Mayor Lori Lightfoot is now officially out of the race.
Far be it from us to celebrate someone’s misfortune. However, Mayor Lightfoot’s ongoing anti-police campaign has cost precious lives and continues to demoralize the hardworking officers in the city. Let’s review some of the highlights of her tenure, and what National Police Support Fund did about it.
Mayor Lightfoot’s Crime Problem
In both fiction plots and newsreels alike, Chicago frequently gets a bad rap due to its crime rates. A lot of these stereotypes are based on the dreadful 1980s when drug traffickers fought their internal wars in the streets of many cities. However, starting in the late 1990s, Chicago began the long path toward recovery.
At least, that was until things took a turn for the worse over the last election cycle. In 2020 alone, Chicago’s murder rate jumped by 139%. Weekend drive-by shootings became commonplace, and each week brought new names to the lists of wounded and dead.
For the City of Chicago, this should’ve been a reminder about the importance of law enforcement. Instead, Mayor Lightfoot took a radical turn to the left and began directly blaming the police for both their inaction and their excessive action. Crime got worse. Families were afraid. And finally, on February 28th, the people told Mayor Lightfoot that this was not OK.
Playing the “Defund” card
Mayor Lightfoot’s problems with crime soon became a problem with law enforcement. As we continuously reported here, she added fuel to the fire by embracing many of the policies of the “defunding the police” movement.
- Protecting a child rapist from deportation
- Publicly berating a member of the city’s Fraternal Order of Police, calling him “a clown”
- Kept police officers from working overtime, despite being sorely needed on the streets
- Starting a new “police accountability” task force, designed to harass officers who attempt to prevent crime.
At the same time, she ensured to remove herself from the increasing lawlessness in her home city: she kept a secret 71-man-strong squad devoted exclusively to her security.
Then, in March 2021, a new wave of COVID-19 cases and “Black Lives Matter” protests swept around the country. This turned the police into an easy and acceptable target for any two-penny leader.
Enlisting the help of those we serve
Our first campaign in support of our Chicago brothers was launched in July 2020. Here, we addressed Lori Lightfoot directly and made an open statement about her evident lack of leadership skills.
Throughout the next two years, we continued to keep an eye out for the developments in Chicago. We also created a local office known as the Police Issues Action Center, based in nearby Rosemont, Illinois. With a local presence, National Police Support Fund set out to discover the true extent of the abuse being perpetrated on Chicago’s Police Departments.
The high cost of a demoralized force
During early 2022, many of the members at the National Police Support Fund were growing increasingly concerned about the horror stories coming from Chicago. Rather than taking the headlines without a grain of salt, we embarked on one of our largest surveys so far.
We went straight to the citizens and Law Enforcement Officers in the city and asked them what was going on. The results were alarming: 96.5% of respondents expressed “no confidence” in Mayor Lightfoot. Over 90% of both civilians and LEOs reported seeing police working under “poor conditions” and with “insufficient resources.”
2023 Brought a Chance for Change
Emboldened by the results of our initial survey, we redoubled our efforts ahead of the 2023 mayoral election. The people of Chicago had seen the effects of crime first-hand, and many leaders within the rank and file were ready to take action.
The first sign of hope was John Catanzara’s announcement of his own mayoral campaign. As the recently-retired President of Chicago’s Fraternal Order of Police, he had seen first-hand the effects of Lightfoot’s policies.
As the campaign heated up, Catanzara recognized the right moment to take a step back. In a great act of gallantry, he decided to endorse one of the larger candidates, Paul Vallas, a renowned supporter of the police.
The Next Step for Friends of the Chicago Police
The situation in Chicago has shown that the people’s true sympathies lie behind law enforcement.
We will remain vigilant, and ready to deploy the valuable votes of police officers, their families, and their friends. Together, we can ensure they can fulfill their obligations to society and can access the tools and protections they deserve.
Image Credit: Photo by Daniel X. O’Neil from USA is licensed under CC BY 2.0.