I know, I know. This site is supposed to be anti-police like some would assume but in fact, this site is anti-bad cop. Not everything boils down to bad policing although it does exist to an extent most would deny. The mythological “good cop” is not a myth. Officers just trying to do their job the best way they know how exist. Even these cops do face hardships that we can’t be too apathetic about because we are ALL human. So when a picture went viral of two Chicago Police Department officers taking a snooze, I had to look at the bigger picture (no pun intended).
The streets of Chicago are a bloody mess. According to NBC, Chicago has seen nearly 60 people shot since Friday evening. Four of the victims killed were teens. That’s just Sunday! Things are so bad up there that cops have been pulled off already scheduled vacations. Mandatory overtime is being handed out like hot cakes. Officers in Chicago are literally running on “E” and burning out. Why? Because the streets are hot.
Since the uptick in violent shootings the weekend prior, Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson promised that hundreds of additional officers would flood the streets of Chicago’s most violent neighborhoods. The Fraternal Order of Police President Kevin Graham warned that officers would reach burnout without adequate time off. This picture appears to be evidence of the fact.
The photo was posted on Facebook by mayoral challenger Ja’Mal Green. The photo is of two officers, one male and one female, from Chicago Police Squadron 6111 passed out in their patrol car.
“In light of all of the violence that happened last week, Rahm decided to deploy 600 MORE officers & make officers work overtime! This picture proves WHY that was a bad idea,” Green wrote on his Facebook page. “Officers get fatigued, which will prevent them from reacting to crime. Militarizing communities does NOT reduce violence. That’s why I’m running for mayor because we need a REAL comprehensive plan to address violence that deals with economics / jobs, education, mental health, small businesses, affordable housing and more! #GOGREEN2019”
“We’re talking about deploying 400-to-600 officers. Taking away their days off. Making them work. That’s not the answer. Officers are fatigued. We’v got to start talking about the health of our police officers who are on the street, all day, every day on overtime in our neighborhoods,” Green said Monday.
“We can’t continue to overwork police officers. It ends up in a situation where police officers can’t do their official duties. They’re tired. That really messes them up mentally and physically. We have to make sure they get the rest and care they need. With the trauma they see on the streets every day, the mental health issue is real.”
If stretching officers thin is not the answer to reign in the violence, what is?
Green believes education, wellness centers, mental health and creating jobs is the answer. He referred to it as “a real, comprehensive plan attacking the root causes of violence.” Putting police officers in a position where they can’t recharge their batteries and over-working them is not the answer. Inadequate sleep leads to questionable decision-making opening the city up to more lawsuits from police-involved shootings. Officers will literally be caught sleeping and will wake up dead.
That is NOT the answer. Yes the city’s leadership needs to be overhauled but community members also have work to do as well. It is their community. They have to get their hands dirty and squash the roach infestation or gentrification will. It is the members of the community that let things get out of hand only focusing on self instead of the betterment of the majority. Now they are paying for it.
To the cops in the picture, it’s a shame you’re asleep in a war zone. It’s a shame your leadership has failed you. Your city failed you. Your community failed you. Despite all of that, the show must go on.