The year 2010 turned out to be a deadly one for Chicago Police, which saw four of its officers shot and killed.
Arrests were made in three of the murders, but not in the case of Michael Bailey, who was shot to death in July after getting home from his shift on mayoral protection detail.
While still in uniform, Bailey was approached by at least two men who tried to steal his Buick. Shots were exchanged and the men fled the scene.
“You’re begging and praying somebody comes up with information," said Bill Kugelman, founder of a new program that aims to deter police shootings and helps solve them. "Well, nobody’s going to if there’s nothing [in it] for them.”
Kugelman joined forces with the Chicago Police Memorial Foundation earlier this month to launch the "Cop Shot" program, which pays tipsters $10,000 for information leading to an arrest and conviction when a Chicago Police officer is shot or shot at. The program set up a tip line (1-888-YPO-SHOT), manned 24-7 by Chicago Police.
“What better means of getting information than paying for it in good old U.S. cash?” Kugelman said.
Kugelman, who modeled 1-888-YPO-SHOT after a similar program in New York City, says he thinks his program will be every bit as successful as the version in New York.
“Money talks," he said. "We hope that we never have to do this … but being a realist, you know it’s going to come up."
To increase the visibility of the new tip line, Cop Shot distributed 2,000 bumper stickers in the first week. More bumper stickers have been ordered and billboards eventually will go up to promote the program.
Kugelman wants the program to honor the sacrifice of unsung law enforcement heroes like his son, John, a former Illinois trooper who was killed in the line of duty 25 years ago.
“In my heart, I kind of dedicate it to him. … I think he’s giving me a thumbs up.”
The Chicago Police Memorial Foundation plans to give its first $10,000 to the informant whose tip led to the arrest in the shooting death of officer Michael Flisk. Flisk was gunned down in November while processing the scene of a burglary in a garage in the South Chicago neighborhood.
"We hope to stop some of this carnage,” Kugelman said.