Police Union Chief: Weis' Argument "Ridiculous"

Union renews call for top cop's resignation following his open letter of defense

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    NEWSLETTERS

    The president of Chicago's Fraternal Order of Police responds the the superintendent's open letter and calls on him to end a civil war by resigning his position. (Published Monday, Sep 13, 2010)

    The president of Chicago's Fraternal Order of Police on Monday evening called on police Supt. Jody Weis to end a civil war by resigning his position. 

    "It would be appropriate if he chose not to fill out his term.  Or it would be great if he just did all the things he says he's tried to do in his letter to the [Chicago] Sun-Times.  That hasn't  happened.  And we don't anticipate it's going to happen in the near future," said FOP President Mark Donahue.

    Earlier Monday, the Chicago Sun-Times published a letter from Weis in which he defended his reputation as a leader and the steps he says he's taken to improve the department.  He said it was union leadership that has been reticent to improving the force and who failed to provide new ideas and constructive feedback.

    "I have not received anything of substance: no ideas, no lists, no issues," Weis wrote.

    Hours later, Donahue refuted much of Weis' letter.  He said the department has "consistently" come up with ideas, a major one being a change to the work schedule that had been in place for roughly 40 years. 

    Donahue said Weis has consistently broken promises

    "We've been promised seats at the table on different issues... only to be totally rejected and not brought to the table on those issues," he said.  "Other discussions we've been involved in, at times, they've come out with orders while we're still in discussions... while our input was supposed to be taken seriously."

    Weis' open letter has drawn a flurry of responses from rank and file on the Internet.  The website Second City Cop called the superintendent a "gigantic crybaby."   And police Lt. John Andrews, who last month openly criticized Weis and Mayor Richard Daley, posted an online response calling it "unfortunate" that Weis was blaming others for the department's shortcomings.  He closed with an impassioned plea to the mayor to fire Weis.

    To get their message across, thousands of police personnel are expected to protest Weis' leadership and staffing shortfalls with a demonstration at police headquarters on Wednesday morning.

    Some, noting that morale in the department was in the tank, called upon Weis to make good on a promise he made to leave on his own following last year's march and vote of no confidence.

    "The proper resources are not on the streets to support the men and women that are there in trying to do their job of protecting the citizens of the city of Chicago.  That's why it should be a major concern and that's why we need to shout loud and clear so this guy hears us," said Donahue.

    Weis, a career FBI agent, believes he has done what the mayor asked of him: bringing fresh thinking and creative crime-fighting ideas on a strained budget with reduced manpower.  And, he says, he's put a lid on scandals and brought overall crime down.

    In fact, Weis' latest salvo comes just four days after renewed support from Daley. 

    "This man came in and did the job that was necessary," Daley said last week.  "He's done a very, very good job, and I'm very proud that I appointed him."

    The mayor couldn't have given him more public praise and Weis seemed humbled.

    The standoff currently gripping the department is classic, with the police union as convinced of its viewpoint as Weis is of his, and the public's safety in the middle. 

    Clearly, whatever the superintendent says and does now is being watched by new audience members: the next mayor or his next employer.