Lori Lightfoot made an immediate impact upon becoming the first black gay female mayor of Chicago.
As she took the over the mayoral reins in Chicago, her first edict was to dump the Chicago Police security detail that has protected Chicago’s mayors for decades.
Her security team will be headed by James Smith, a former United States Marshal and will consist of officers from the U.S. Marshals and other law enforcement departments outside the CPD. What role Chicago Police will play in the future protection of Chicago’s mayor is unknown at this time.
These uncharted waters create new challenges for the detail; do they hold the correct certifications to work as law enforcement agents in Illinois and Chicago?
Are they indemnified through the city in civil actions taken against them? Is their collective experience sufficient to protect an individual in unfamiliar surroundings?
Are they given police powers in a municipality that they do not work for? All interesting and intriguing questions.
Perhaps the most captivating question is why she would make such an unusual move that clearly disenfranchise a thirteen thousand member force of police officers dedicated to the protection of the City of Chicago.
Besides the complicated legal questions involved and the simple operational needs that will be wanting, what is the back-story of such an egregious move.
Lori Lightfoot was the President of the Chicago Police Board that had final decisions of major disciplinary actions against officers that found themselves in violation of department rules. She held the right of firing officers she deemed in violation of her standards.
Lori Lightfoot was also the author of the scathing and controversial 2016 report condemning police accountability.
This report used terms like” callous and disrespectful ways” in which the community was treated by some CPD officer.
“Some CPD officers are racist and have no respect for the lives and experiences of people of color, and approach every encounter with people of color as if the person, regardless of age, gender, or circumstance, is a criminal,” Lori Lightfoot’s report said.
It continues, “…people of color loudly expressed their outrage about how they are treated by the police.”
Lori Lightfoot is already fundamentally changing the Chicago Police Department as did Rahm Emanuel did before her. The push for minority candidates, as well as female and other genders is a priority of recruitment.
The latest police academy graduates represent what the political left believes is necessary to symbolize the progressiveness of Chicago.
Chicago may soon be the next San Francisco, or Detroit, depending on who you speak to.
The past Chicago police test used to draw tens of thousands of applicants and was held every 4 or 5 years. Now the city is running advertisements, recruiting in minority schools, running test preparation sites, and recently started a program to call individual applicants on the telephone to wake them up on the day of test.
A great percentage of applicants fail the drug test and a larger portion don’t even show up on test day. The quality of applicants has diminished greatly. The twenty and thirty year veterans don’t even recognize the police department any longer.
Back to the police detail: Mr. Smith is married to Margaret Houlihan-Smith, who is daughter of a former Cook County Assessor and an Illinois State Representative whose father was tied to the Daily Empire and the 19th ward. Mrs. Smith (Houlihan) is a current lobbyist for United Airlines which has their corporate headquarters located in downtown Chicago.
By the way, Chicago has three aldermen under federal indictment as of this writing. A reasonable person would assume the incoming mayor would have bigger fish to fry than just a change of guard. Some things change substantially and others simply change their looks.
To all my brothers and sisters in blue, lock and load and protect each other. And as always, stay safe.
View Larry Casey’s website at www.StoriesofaChicagoPoliceOfficer.com/ and review his book by the same name.