City’s tired image of police fails to see a ‘diverse generation of young officers’
As people of color, my husband and I want to help solve the problems that we ourselves survived growing up in Chicago — the shootings, senseless killings, gangs, drugs, broken homes, social and economic disparities. But sadly, Chicago seems stuck on an old image of police officers, failing to see our city’s new, emerging, diverse generation of young officers.
Who is telling the story of officers who were born and raised in this city, who are former Chicago Public Schools students? These city kids, now as police officers, are unwelcome in their own communities and schools because of funding debates.
I empathize and mourn with the victims of police brutality and racial profiling. My husband and I have experienced it too. But
CPD has a new face.
I am outraged, saddened and hurt by the blatant lawlessness and disregard for authority we are seeing now. People have planned attacks against police. Lawless groups have hurled projectiles, stabbed officers with sharpened PVC piping and thrown frozen water bottles and explosives at them. Are officers supposed to stand there like robots as abuse is heaped on them? Would you?
An attack on our officers is an attack on us — all of us!
Violence undeniably has increased, and there is a direct correlation between that and the anti-police movement. Please drop the notion that the police must be defunded — a delusional and reckless idea.
Now more than ever, our police officers and their families need support. We need an amplified voice, and the city should care about us, too. The police are exasperated, reporting to a mayor who does not lead by example.
How can Mayor Lori Lightfoot seek to fire an officer for giving the middle finger to someone but then send this message to the president of the United States: “It begins with an F and ends with YOU.”
She’s setting officers up to fail. Accountability goes both ways.
My challenge to Chicago is, first, change your perception of the police. Understand that they are people, with families and friends who love them. The Chicago police are working hard to enact needed reforms. It takes time; they are not insta-perfect.
Chicago needs a police department it can trust and respect. Character and conduct go hand in hand. Likewise and equally, CPD needs the support of conscientious and honorable Chicagoans — and a mayor who will back her blue! Juanita Santiago, CPD wife and South Sider