Don’t let the Suburbs Fall into the Big City Trap

NPSF - Op Ed Simon Lewis

The dangers of allowing Chicago’s big-city progressive and liberal policies to spread into the suburbs cannot be overstated. The city of Chicago has run amok- with an alarming increase in crime, shootings, and attacks on police. The Chicago Sun Times reported that “the number of shootings so far this year now stands at 345, a rise of about 21% from the 273 shootings recorded at this point in 2020.”

At the end of March, Law Enforcement Today reported that 4 cops had been shot in Chicago within 2 weeks.  Earlier the same month, two cops committed suicide within a week of each other. At least 10 Chicago police officers have committed suicide since 2018, according to the same article. These tragedies and loss of lives indicative of larger issues facing Chicago law enforcement. This steady rise in criminal activity and attacks against these officers, paired with the mental health crisis exacerbated by the anti-police sentiment, are creating astoundingly dangerous conditions for police officers in the city. 

At the same time as attacks on police and criminal activity were up, police reform legislation was being passed that will end cash bail, mandate the use of body cameras, and open police up to anonymous complaints. Illinois Governor J. B. Pritzer signed HB 3653 into law at the end of February, which covers a large array of police and criminal justice reform measures from eliminating cash bail to a ban on all police chokeholds as well as new guidelines for “decertification” of police officers, among other changes. Most provisions go into effect on July 1, and cash bail is expected to be fully eliminated by January 2023.

This legislation sets the stage for more drastic reforms like this to sweep the country. These new standards will endanger police officers and citizens of Illinois. The new systems in place will be abused by criminals and citizens with anti-cop beliefs. The anonymous complaints that will be allowed on officers will be weaponized without a doubt. Careers and lives can and will be ruined by this new system.

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot and District Attorney Kim Foxx have made it clear that their priority is to let violent criminals roam the streets rather than support the hardworking men and women who dedicate their lives to keeping the city’s residents safe. While there does not seem to be much hope for Chicago, and our thoughts and prayers are with Chicago police as they continue to try and do a dangerous job with no support from their elected officials, there is still hope in the surrounding suburbs. Suburban residents can stop the sprawl of progressive ideology, by supporting their local police departments and voting against ballot measures and candidates that want to defund and delegitimize our police. 

One such community coming together to do just that is Oak Park, which is located on the westside of Chicago. One of the measures that voters decided on during the April 6th municipal elections was whether to defund Oak Park’s police department. The results of a controversial referendum appear to show a strong majority of Oak Park voters rejected the idea of defunding the village’s police department, according to unofficial election results posted Tuesday night. Results will not be official until April 27.

It is not too late for communities to stand up and support their local law enforcement. Allow them to protect and serve effectively, to have enough resources to do their jobs. By supporting law enforcement and rejecting the new progressive anti-police sentiments, we can make our communities safer for everyone. Let’s use Chicago as an example of what not to do.

Society has come to rely on police officers for all types of issues. Not only do they respond to criminal activity, but domestic disputes, neighbor disputes, automobile accidents, drownings, suspicious people, mentally ill people, all deaths whether tied to a crime or not, and the list goes on. Who would want to be a Police Officer in America today?

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