On Sunday, Chicago police officer Michael Bailey returned home after working an overnight shift and was shot and killed while cleaning his new car.
Bailey, who had been guarding Mayor Daley's South Loop townhouse and knew the mayor personally, was just weeks away from retirement--and the third Chicago police officer to be killed since May--the worst two-month run of fatal violence against cops in 40 years.
As Daley expresses the need for the city's tough gun ordinance and others wonder about its effectiveness--one thing, at least for the police department, has been clear:
"The manpower situation in the Chicago Police Department is bad," Mark Donahue, president of the Fraternal Order of Police, told the Chicago Sun-Times. "Guys are out there every day telling us they have to wait for backup. And we're advising them to wait for backup for their own safety."
Police told the Sun-Times that the shortage of officers is emboldening criminals, and that felons no longer fear the police.
On Monday, Daley and Governor Pat Quinn gathered in Cole Park on the city's South Side. The event had been planned before Bailey's death, in honor of fallen police officer Thomas Wortham IV. Wortham was killed in May in a robbery attempt outside his South Side home, and the Chicago Tribune reports that one of his alleged assailants was on probation after having been convicted of a gun charge.
Quinn signed a bill increasing the penalties for illegal gun possession, and Daley announced that more officers were on the way. The city plans to hire 100 new officers to help with the CPD manpower shortage.
While 100 new officers will surely help, the department is currently short 2,230 officers per day, below the city's budget-authorized 13,200.
But to those who actually live in the crime-heavy areas of the South Side, the new law and hiring plan is a start--not a solution. The Sun-Times reports:
Ald. Freddrenna Lyle (6th), whose South Side ward includes the Bailey shooting, said the violence stems from a lack of respect for police officers she saw during a recent "ride around" in her ward with a district commander.
"I had a female officer tell me they called her b---- so much, she thought her name was b---- by the end of the day. That goes to the total lack of respect."
Thomas Wortham III, a retired police sergeant whose son was killed in May, said people need to "come out of the house" and look out for each other.
"We cannot continue to raise a generation of kids who grow up and think they can kill people at will," Wortham told the Sun-Times.
No one has been arrested in Bailey's murder, though the FBI has joined the investigation and rewards totaling $55,000 have been announced.
As police told the Sun-Times they were "hitting the gang-bangers hard" to get information about the murder, Daley reminded the press and those gathering in Cole Park Monday that excessive force will not be tolerated.
"If some police officer comes out and starts whacking people around here, you'll have an outrage," Daley said. "We are a country of laws."