Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot appears to have the wrong idea of what her police department actually does.
You or I might say that the police department exists to protect us and take violent criminals off the street. Not so Chicago’s men and women in blue, according to Lightfoot. They are filling the city’s quota for minority hires and creating good-paying jobs for black and brown people.
Yes, your honor, but what about fighting crime?
Fourteen people, including five children, were killed as more than 100 people were shot in a wave of gunfire in Chicago over Father’s Day weekend that produced the city’s highest number of shooting victims in a single weekend this year.
Among the victims was 3-year-old Mekhi James, who police said was fatally shot Saturday as the boy was in a car with his father in the south Austin neighborhood. Police said the child’s 27-year-old father was the intended target when someone fired shots at the vehicle, but he is not cooperating with detectives. Community leaders are offering a $10,000 reward for any information in the boy’s killing.
It would have been nice if the Chicago police would have been present in those black neighborhoods to perhaps prevent of few of the 104 people who were shot over the weekend from enduring the pain and suffering that goes with a gunshot wound. But they’re not wanted in those neighborhoods so they’re “keeping a low profile.”
This doesn’t appear to faze Chicago’s mayor, who fears cutting the police budget not because crime would skyrocket but because black officers would be put out of work.
In our Police Department, about 90 percent of the budget is personnel. When you talk about defunding, you’re talking about getting rid of officers. Most of our diversity lies in the junior officers. So when you’re talking about defunding the police, you’re talking about doing it in a context of a collective-bargaining agreement that requires you to go in reverse seniority, which means you’re getting rid of the younger officers. Which means you’re getting rid of black and brown people. Which means you are eliminating one of the few tools that the city has to create middle-class incomes for black and brown folks. Nobody talks about that in the discussion to defund the police.
Perhaps no one talks about it because they don’t care what color the officer responding to a 911 call is. All they care about is if he makes it in time.
The point of a police department is not “to create middle-class incomes” for people of any race. The point of a police department is to do police work. Mayor Lightfoot is here confirming a longstanding libertarian critique of bureaucracy — that the interests of the bureaucrats, including the financial interests of the staff and executives and the political interests of the politicians who treat bureaucrats’ incomes as political spoils, end up being the actual motivating force of many public agencies, with their purported mission (in this case, law enforcement) coming in a very distant second, at best.
Lightfoot and other big-city mayors have lost sight of where their focus should be when it comes to the police department. One need only look at cities like Sarajevo in the 1990s or Mogadishu just about any time: No law, no order, and the rule of the jungle prevails.
Defunding the police, that even Lightfoot opposes even if its for ludicrous reasons, will only make weekends like this last one the rule rather than the exception.