Gery Chico continued to pick up support from Latino leaders this week when he won the support of the Latin American Police Association (LAPA) and the Mexican American Police Organization (MAPO). The two groups represent an estimated 450 Chicago-area law enforcement officers.
LAPA, which was founded in 1961, calls itself the city’s “first ethnic law enforcement group.” The organization won its biggest victory when it joined with the Mexican American Legal Defense Fund to force the Cook County Sheriff’s Department to hire more Latino deputies.
“We are supporting Gery because he best reflects the values of Chicago’s law enforcement community,” said Michael Chuchro, president of LAPA. “He will be a great mayor and we will do whatever we can to get him elected.”
Both Rahm Emanuel and Miguel Del Valle sought LAPA’s endorsement but the group voted “overwhelmingly” for Chico, Chuchro said. No surprise: LAPA once named Chico its “Person of the Year.”
The Mexican American Police Organization is a charitable outfit that sponsors a golf outing to raise money for its Youth Fund, and a Toy Drive for underprivileged children.
“Gery’s experience tackling some of the city’s toughest challenges and succeeding against all odds, make him the best suited to be our next mayor,” said Sergio Flores, president of MAPO.
Chico has been working hard to win the support of law enforcement in his campaign for mayor. Like most other candidates, he’s promising to replace Superintendent Jody Weis with a Chicago cop. But he also wants to hire 2,000 more officers.
Chico claims credit for the last increase in the department’s manpower, which happened when he was Mayor Daley’s chief of staff.
“I recommended to the mayor a thousand police officers in ‘93 and we did it,” Chico told CBS2. “And that’s the last time we saw a surge like that with the number of police. We need to see that again. We need to see police walking the beat.”