WBEZ | Robert Wildeboer http://www.wbez.org/tags/robert-wildeboer Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en McCarthy dismissive of crime research http://www.wbez.org/news/mccarthy-dismissive-crime-research-110026 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/RS3567_Police Supt. Garry McCarthy and Anita Alvarez_1.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>In the wake of a violent weekend Chicago Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy is picking up an old talking point.</p><p>According to the Chicago police there were 26 shooting incidents this weekend, leaving 32 victims. Three people died from their wounds.</p><p>McCarthy says Illinois needs tougher gun laws, including mandatory minimum sentences for people caught carrying illegal guns.</p><p>&ldquo;We&rsquo;ve had this conversation,&rdquo; McCarthy said at a press conference Monday. &ldquo;We&rsquo;ve been having this conversation since I got here.&rdquo;</p><p>Crime researchers say there&rsquo;s no evidence to suggest that mandatory minimums reduce gun violence,&nbsp; but they say there&rsquo;s evidence that additional police officers would bring down violence.</p><p>McCarthy&rsquo;s response: &ldquo;Research is research, right?&nbsp; And you can make an argument any which way you want to based on what data says.&nbsp; It&rsquo;s real simple.&nbsp; If you don&rsquo;t go to jail for gun possession you continue to carry guns.&nbsp; You continue to carry guns, people get shot.&rdquo;</p><p>Mayor Rahm Emanuel was unable to push the mandatory minimums bill through the legislature last year. The sponsor, Rep. Mike Zalewski, a Democrat,&nbsp; has said he plans to make another push,&nbsp; though there&rsquo;s no movement on the bill right now.</p></p> Tue, 15 Apr 2014 13:07:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/mccarthy-dismissive-crime-research-110026 Crowded Chicago Police office forces sex offenders to violate parole http://www.wbez.org/news/crowded-chicago-police-office-forces-sex-offenders-violate-parole-109798 <p><p dir="ltr">The Chicago Police Department forces sex offenders to violate their parole. I know that sounds crazy. I thought it was crazy when I first heard about it, but I&rsquo;ve spent a lot of time in the last two weeks with sex offenders waiting -- for hours and hours -- outside police headquarters and watching a Kafkaesque process play out.</p><p dir="ltr">Every morning sex offenders start lining up at 6, while it&rsquo;s still dark out, sometimes even earlier than that, and I probably don&rsquo;t have to remind you how cold it&rsquo;s been this winter. Tracy Wright was one of a couple dozen men on a recent morning.</p><p>&ldquo;It&rsquo;s freezing out here,&rdquo; said Wright. &ldquo;Man, I had frost bites today. Somebody gave me some gloves to put on my hands.&rdquo;</p><p>It&rsquo;s often like this, with the men stomping their feet on the cold concrete, trying to stay warm. For some reason, there&rsquo;s no waiting room. A small vestibule acts as a makeshift waiting room but there are 20 guys stuck outside. By 10:30 a.m. all of the men are cold and frustrated. &ldquo;I been here since 7 o&rsquo;clock waiting in line trying to see these people to keep me from being locked up,&rdquo; said Wright.</p><p><strong>Ambulance needed</strong></p><p dir="ltr">On this morning an ambulance was called for one of the men because he had numbness in his feet. After that, the men were allowed to wait in the main lobby of police headquarters but that&rsquo;s the exception to the rule.</p><p>People convicted as sex offenders have to register once a year. It basically means they have to go to the police department registration office and update their personal info and show proof of their current address. And if they move, they have to go back to re-register within three days. If they enroll in school they have to re-register within three days. If they change jobs they have to re-register within three days.</p><p>There are a lot of requirements and in Chicago, and they can be nearly impossible to meet, not because the offenders don&rsquo;t want to meet them but because of the way the Chicago Police Department runs the registration office.</p><p>When I met Wright in line it was his third time trying to get in the office to register. &ldquo;Every time we come here they have us standing in this line out here in this cold,&rdquo; he said.</p><p>Wright was turned away the other two days because the office doesn&rsquo;t have the capacity to process all the sex offenders who show up to register, and Wright&rsquo;s worried the same thing is going to happen again. &ldquo;At 12 o&rsquo;clock they&rsquo;ll cut the line, they&rsquo;ll stop the line and tell us to come back tomorrow but I been standing out here already four to five hours,&rdquo; said Wright.</p><p><b>Go home, but you can still be arrested</b></p><p dir="ltr">Sure enough, an hour later, at 11:45 a.m., &nbsp;a man comes out of the registry office and tells Wright and the two dozen other men who have been waiting in the cold all morning, that they won&rsquo;t be able to register today. But then it gets weirder. The police department employee tells the men they can sign a list that will prove they showed up today to register but then he tells them that even if they&rsquo;re on the list, they can still be arrested for failing to register.</p><p>In a written statement, Adam Collins, a spokesman for the Chicago Police, said the list is collected and the department &ldquo;proactively sends their names to Illinois State Police &hellip; to minimize any potential criminal registration problems for the individuals.&rdquo;</p><p>Of course letting the men actually register would be an even more effective way to minimize registration problems. For clarity, I asked Collins several times, aren&rsquo;t the men at risk of being arrested? He simply resent a portion of his written statement.</p><p>For the offenders being turned away every day -- sometimes 10, 20, or even more of them -- the message they&rsquo;re getting is that the department prefers to risk their arrest rather than process this paperwork more quickly.</p><p><strong>Violating registration rules can mean prison</strong></p><p dir="ltr">The men are nervous and they have good reason. According to the Illinois Department of Corrections there are currently 841 people in prison for violating registration requirements.</p><p>&ldquo;You know, I think we&rsquo;re caught up in the machine,&rdquo; said Terry as he walked away from police headquarters after being told he wouldn&rsquo;t be able to register. Terry didn&rsquo;t want to give his last name. He says he&rsquo;s trying to fulfill the registration requirements and get on with his life, which includes a job in sales that he&rsquo;s missing so he can stand in line. &ldquo;We&rsquo;re the guys that are trying to do the right thing. We&rsquo;re showing up here, we&rsquo;re trying to do the right thing we&rsquo;re trying to follow the law to the letter of what&rsquo;s on that piece of paper and they turn us away and say sorry, but you can still be arrested. Yeah, well, how are we supposed to feel?&rdquo; he asked.</p><p>After most of the men have left William White is still sitting in his wheel chair outside the registry office. I saw him arrive before noon but that was too late and now he&rsquo;s locked outside in the cold in a T-shirt and a light jacket. He has one leg. Because of that he had to get a ride from his brother Reggie and he&rsquo;s waiting for his brother to pick him up. When Reggie shows up he can&rsquo;t believe his brother couldn&rsquo;t register because there&rsquo;s a sign on the locked door that says the office is open till 3.</p><p>&ldquo;It&rsquo;s not even one o&rsquo;clock yet! Five minutes to one,&rdquo; said White.</p><p>&ldquo;This is horrible. It&rsquo;s like they&rsquo;re purposely setting people up to be violated to go back to jail. You can&rsquo;t conclude nothing else but that. And they came out, they didn&rsquo;t even have any sympathy, his limb is missing. They didn&rsquo;t even care, you know? So they won&rsquo;t even see you or anything, won&rsquo;t register you or nothing. They told him to come back Tuesday but I have to work and I won&rsquo;t be able to bring him Tuesday,&rdquo; said White.</p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Sex Registry Sign.JPG" style="height: 214px; width: 300px; float: left;" title="CPD spokesman Adam Collins says the criminal registry office is open standard business hours, but a sign on the door tells a different story. Sex offenders who show up when they’re supposed to show up often find the door locked. They end up leaving angry and confused and concerned that they’ll be arrested for failing to register. (WBEZ/Robert Wildeboer)" /></div><p>In a written statement police spokesman Adam Collins insisted the office is open standard business hours. That&rsquo;s not what I saw. In fact while I talk to Reggie White and his brother a young man walks up and pulls on the locked door. White shouts over to him, &ldquo;They not taking anybody else.&rdquo;</p><p>After a short conversation the young man walks away mystified and angry. I saw a lot of men arrive in the afternoon, when the office is advertised as being open. They all found a locked door and got no explanation.</p><p><strong>Increased registration, says CPD</strong></p><p>CPD spokesman Collins says there&rsquo;s been an increase in registrations in the last two years. He says they&rsquo;ve detailed additional officers to the criminal registration section and they are in the planning stage of an expansion of the office to accommodate additional personnel, but he didn&rsquo;t provide any details about a timeline despite our request. He also didn&rsquo;t answer questions on whether there are plans for a waiting room.</p><p>The whole process is especially frustrating for men who have jobs and are trying to keep their lives on track, like Byron Williams. He says he&rsquo;s shown up to this office 8 or 9 times in the last couple weeks, a not uncommon story. Williams is a security guard and his boss is letting him work the night shift right now so he can stand in line during the day, but he doesn&rsquo;t get off the night shift till 6 a.m. so he&rsquo;s not getting in line early enough. He hasn&rsquo;t been able to register.</p><p>&ldquo;My boss is like, okay you need to make something happen, but every time I get up to close by they cut it off and say we can&rsquo;t register, you got to come back the next day. I&rsquo;m explaining that to my boss and he&rsquo;s understanding but he&rsquo;s not understanding and I&rsquo;m at risk of losing my job and you know how hard it is for a sex offender to find a job?&rdquo; said Williams.</p><p>Given the weather at the end of last week, Williams decided he wasn&rsquo;t going to stand out in the cold again and waste his time. However, Monday is his last day to register before he&rsquo;s in violation. He says he&rsquo;ll be in line again, to give it another try.</p></p> Mon, 03 Mar 2014 05:00:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/crowded-chicago-police-office-forces-sex-offenders-violate-parole-109798 Fantasy and reality: What do Illinois legislators know about prisons? http://www.wbez.org/news/fantasy-and-reality-what-do-illinois-legislators-know-about-prisons-109730 <p><p>Seventy-five percent of the lawmakers in the Illinois House have never stepped foot in a maximum security cell block, and 40 percent of the legislators have never toured or visited a prison even once. This despite the fact that they&rsquo;re the ones signing the checks for the $1.3 billion dollar per year agency. The findings are the result of a WBEZ survey of Iegislators in 2013. Ninety-five of the 118 House members responded to the survey.</p><blockquote><p><a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/fantasy-and-reality-what-do-illinois-legislators-know-about-prisons-109730#map"><strong>Map: Has your state rep ever visited a prison?</strong></a></p></blockquote><p>We asked legislators if they&rsquo;d ever been in a prison, a cell block, a maximum security cell block, and how many prisons they&rsquo;d been in and when. It&rsquo;s perhaps a bit of a crude measure but gives some insight into how much legislators know about the costly agency.</p><p>A number of them refused to participate in the 9-question survey that takes, seriously, about 90 seconds to complete. My sense from some was that they didn&rsquo;t want to go on the record saying they hadn&rsquo;t been in a prison. If I&rsquo;m right then the numbers above regarding how many have been in a prison and how many have walked through a cell block--they&rsquo;re likely conservative.</p><p>The list of legislators who refused to participate is below and includes House Speaker Mike Madigan, whose spokesman said of the survey, &ldquo;It does not look like the type of activity the speaker or his staff participate in.&rdquo; Numerous follow-up calls and emails went unreturned.</p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Screen%20Shot%202014-02-19%20at%202.07.42%20AM.png" style="width: 400px; height: 274px; float: left;" title="(Responses to the WBEZ state prison survey by Illinois House district.*)" /><strong>Hosting tours</strong></p><p>When State Treasurer Dan Rutherford was elected to the statehouse in the early 1990s he started hosting tours of the Pontiac prison, which was in his district. &ldquo;It was pretty obvious to me that one of the major expenses for the state budget is Department of Corrections, and few people knew anything about it,&rdquo; Rutherford said in a recent interview.</p><p>&ldquo;Having grown up in a community where, you know, generations of families and friends have worked at the correctional center, I don&rsquo;t think the public, really, and particularly policy makers understood what it really was,&rdquo; he said.</p><p>He says every two years he&rsquo;d invite the newly elected freshman legislators to tour the prison, and then if there was enough room he&rsquo;d invite staff members too.</p><p>A spokesman for the Illinois Department of Corrections says the agency still wants as many legislators as possible to tour prisons as often as is feasible. Basically, if a legislator wants a tour, the agency will find a way to make it happen.</p><p>Rep. Frank Mautino (D-Spring Valley) used to be on the public safety appropriations committee, which oversees funding for the Department of Corrections. Mautino says his committee used to sometimes meet in prisons. &ldquo;If it&rsquo;s an appropriation person and they&rsquo;re dealing with funding corrections then they should avail themselves of the ability to go into the facilities,&rdquo; Mautino said.</p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Screen%20Shot%202014-02-19%20at%202.10.17%20AM.png" style="height: 249px; width: 400px; float: right;" title="(Responses to the WBEZ state prison survey by Illinois House district.*)" />Mautino first saw a maximum security prison when he attended a committee meeting in Menard, a maximum security prison in southern Illinois. &rdquo;It gave me a respect for the work that is done by the men and women who work in corrections and I&rsquo;ve always been mindful of their needs,&rdquo; said Mautino.</p><p><strong>Everybody can&rsquo;t be an expert</strong></p><p>&ldquo;You can&rsquo;t expect every legislator to be super interested and engaged in corrections,&rdquo; said Kent Redfield, professor emeritus of political science at the University of Illinois Springfield and a former legislative analyst for House Democrats.</p><p>Redfield says legislators have different areas of expertise and there&rsquo;s a natural division of labor. &ldquo;If you don&rsquo;t have a facility in your district and you&rsquo;ve got a whole bunch of things that are much more important to your constituents, then I don&rsquo;t think it&rsquo;s surprising that you&rsquo;ve got legislators that haven&rsquo;t been to corrections facilities.&rdquo;</p><p>That said, Redfield says legislators shouldn&rsquo;t just be a rubber stamp. They need to know as much as possible, especially in the current climate of shrinking budgets. &ldquo;If all you know is what the Department of Corrections tells you, then that really narrows the kind of decision making options and may predetermine the outcome of budget and policy kinds of decisions,&rdquo; said Redfield.</p><p><strong>Fantasy and Reality</strong></p><p>&ldquo;No one goes in these places. That&rsquo;s why they are how they are,&rdquo; said John Maki, director of the John Howard Association, a nonpartisan prison watchdog group in Illinois.</p><p>Maki says much of what we know about prisons comes from movies and television and is simply not true. &ldquo;What&rsquo;s really unfortunate about our prison policy, not only in Illinois but across the country, is that it really depends upon, not the reality of prisons and what prisons can really do, but I think fantasies, things that are not grounded in reality.&rdquo;</p><p>Maki says it&rsquo;s hard to go into a prison and not start asking some serious questions about what we&rsquo;re doing.</p><p>&ldquo;Well when you go in our prison system and you see how crowded it is, and you see how under-resourced it is, I think it would be very hard to believe that our prison system can actually change people for the better. And that&rsquo;s not a judgement of the Illinois Department of Corrections. They are doing hard work with very limited resources. That&rsquo;s just a kind of fact about the reality of our system,&rdquo; said Maki.</p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Screen%20Shot%202014-02-19%20at%202.13.42%20AM.png" style="height: 441px; width: 620px;" title="(Responses to the WBEZ state prison survey by Illinois House district.*)" />Maki says if legislators saw that firsthand, they would have to start asking questions about what our prisons are accomplishing and what they cost. He thinks they&rsquo;d also be more thoughtful in the sentences they attach to certain crimes when they pass laws.</p><p>&ldquo;It&rsquo;s not a coincidence I think that the United States has the largest prison system in the world and that we know so little about how prisons actually work,&rdquo; said Maki. &ldquo;Because we don&rsquo;t see these places, we&rsquo;re allowed to believe what we want to believe.&rdquo;</p><p>But Maki says that&rsquo;s not entirely on legislators. They&rsquo;re not the only ones who don&rsquo;t visit prisons to see the reality firsthand. &ldquo;Typically judges don&rsquo;t do this, prosecutors don&rsquo;t do this, defenders don&rsquo;t do this, police don&rsquo;t do this. Again, outside of the people who live there, or who work there, almost no one goes in these places that are extremely expensive and where thousands and thousands of lives are kind of coursing through,&rdquo; he said.</p><p>But circling back to the legislators who fund the Department of Corrections and vote on the laws and sentences that put people in prison, Maki says he&rsquo;s not surprised that 40 percent of legislators have never stepped foot into a prison, and 75 percent have never seen a maximum security cell block, &ldquo;They don&rsquo;t go to these places because their constituents don&rsquo;t ask them to.&nbsp; If there was a demand for this, they would do it,&rdquo; he said.</p><p>Maki says lawmakers are representatives of the people who vote them into office, and when it comes to prisons the voters aren&rsquo;t demanding anything different.</p><p>*For these visualizations, WBEZ surveyed all 118 of the Illinois state representatives about their familiarity with the state&#39;s prisons. The survey involved in-person interviews and a nine-question online survey. Of the 118 lawmakers, 95 answered the questions, and 23 refused to provide any information.</p><p>Map of responses to the WBEZ state prison survey by Illinois House district. Click on district areas to see complete responses from individual state representatives.<a name="#map"></a></p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/map%20legend.jpg" style="height: 48px; width: 620px;" title="" /></div> <style type="text/css"> #map-canvas { width:620px; height:900px; } .layer-wizard-search-label { font-family: sans-serif };</style> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://maps.google.com/maps/api/js?sensor=false"> </script><script type="text/javascript"> var map; var layer_0; function initialize() { map = new google.maps.Map(document.getElementById('map-canvas'), { center: new google.maps.LatLng(39.77761093074509, -89.23360066992188), zoom: 7 }); var style = [ { featureType: 'all', elementType: 'all', stylers: [ { saturation: -99 } ] } ]; var styledMapType = new google.maps.StyledMapType(style, { map: map, name: 'Styled Map' }); map.mapTypes.set('map-style', styledMapType); map.setMapTypeId('map-style'); layer_0 = new google.maps.FusionTablesLayer({ query: { select: "col22>>0", from: "14y5bhd5vVGUWhCP33hdTbNR-eTG1J_QsBDDmgdE" }, map: map, styleId: 2, templateId: 2 }); } google.maps.event.addDomListener(window, 'load', initialize); </script><div id="map-canvas">&nbsp;</div><p>*Survey results do not include three Illinois state representatives who took office after August 2013. Results do include three lawmakers who stepped down after August 2013.</p><p class="p1">Complete responses to the WBEZ state prison survey. Sort the chart by name, party or district to find your lawmaker&#39;s responses.</p><script type="text/javascript" src="//ajax.googleapis.com/ajax/static/modules/gviz/1.0/chart.js"> {"dataSourceUrl":"//docs.google.com/a/chicagopublicradio.org/spreadsheet/tq?key=0AmzGTEnmVgYydGtnZjF0THR1Mi1tSW1DM1FqTkhYTlE&transpose=0&headers=1&range=A1%3AH119&gid=0&pub=1","options":{"vAxes":[{"useFormatFromData":true,"title":"Left vertical axis title","minValue":null,"viewWindow":{"min":null,"max":null},"maxValue":null},{"useFormatFromData":true,"minValue":null,"viewWindow":{"min":null,"max":null},"maxValue":null}],"titleTextStyle":{"fontSize":16},"series":{"0":{"hasAnnotations":true},"1":{"hasAnnotations":true}},"booleanRole":"certainty","title":"Chart title","height":900,"animation":{"duration":500},"legend":"right","width":620,"focusTarget":"series","hAxis":{"useFormatFromData":true,"title":"Horizontal axis title","minValue":null,"viewWindow":{"min":null,"max":null},"maxValue":null},"tooltip":{"trigger":"none"}},"state":{},"view":{"columns":[0,1,{"label":"Party","properties":{"role":"annotation"},"sourceColumn":2},{"label":"Have you ever visited an Illinois state prison?","properties":{"role":"annotationText"},"sourceColumn":3},4,{"label":"Have you walked through a cell block?","properties":{"role":"annotation"},"sourceColumn":5},{"label":"Have you walked through a cell block in a maximum security prison?","properties":{"role":"annotationText"},"sourceColumn":6},7]},"isDefaultVisualization":false,"chartType":"Table","chartName":"Chart 1"} </script></p> Tue, 18 Feb 2014 15:57:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/fantasy-and-reality-what-do-illinois-legislators-know-about-prisons-109730 No more boot camp at Cook County Jail? http://www.wbez.org/news/no-more-boot-camp-cook-county-jail-109571 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/Cook County Jail Holding Cell.JPG" alt="" /><p><p>Two Illinois state legislators are seeking to eliminate the boot camp at the Cook County Jail, but research has shown it&rsquo;s an effective program.&nbsp; That research, however, is 7 years old.</p><p>The push by Illinois Reps. Dennis Reboletti and Mike Zalewski to eliminate the boot camp comes in the wake of a Chicago Sun-Times series showing judges have been improperly sentencing violent offenders to the boot camp.</p><p>Boot camp is a four-month program for offenders, based on military-style exercise and training followed by eight months of supervision with services like job training.</p><p>&ldquo;Having people statutorily ineligible was a problem,&rdquo; said Cara Smith, executive director of the Cook County Department of Corrections, &ldquo;but we&rsquo;ve addressed that.&rdquo;</p><p>Smith said the sheriff asked judges to take another look at people who had been sentenced to the boot camp, and people who should not have been there were weeded out.</p><p>&ldquo;Could any program be improved and modified?&nbsp; Yes,&rdquo; said David Olson, a criminologist at Loyola University Chicago. &ldquo;Are programs like boot camps completely useless?&nbsp; No.&rdquo;</p><p>Olson conducted a study of the boot camp in 2007 that found 28 percent of the boot camp graduates were rearrested within 8 months. That compares to a 49 percent rearrest rate for similar offenders who went to prison. Olson wonders, if you cut the boot camp and send those people to prison, &ldquo;Will the outcomes be better, or will we just have a better feeling in our gut that we&rsquo;re imposing a more punitive sanction?&rdquo;</p><p>The boot camp has also been criticized because one graduate, Bryon Champ, was involved in a shooting in a Chicago park last year in which 13 people were injured.&nbsp; Olson says yes, people have gone through the boot camp and then re-offended, but he says when people come out of prison and re-offend we don&rsquo;t talk about shutting down prisons.</p><p>John Maki with the prison watchdog John Howard Association points out that Olson&rsquo;s study is now 7 years old.&nbsp; Maki says if the boot camp is shown to still be effective it should be saved, but given the recent news stories there are real questions about how it&rsquo;s being run.</p><p>Cara Smith with the jail says they&rsquo;ve done a lot to reform the program.&nbsp; &ldquo;We&rsquo;re certainly not at the point where we think this program has to go,&rdquo; said Smith.</p><p>Rep. Zalewski said &ldquo;the recent anecdotal data is it&rsquo;s (the boot camp) not working.&rdquo;&nbsp; However Zalewski said the proposal to eliminate it will at least force a debate about its effectiveness.</p></p> Fri, 24 Jan 2014 15:21:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/no-more-boot-camp-cook-county-jail-109571 8,000 Chicago cops now a little friendlier http://www.wbez.org/news/8000-chicago-cops-now-little-friendlier-109425 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/Bruce Lipman.JPG" alt="" /><p><p>There&rsquo;s a video that&rsquo;s gone viral of a Baltimore police officer getting some kids in trouble for skateboarding. He puts a seemingly compliant 14-year-old in a headlock and pulls him to the ground. &ldquo;Sit down!&rdquo; the officer yells. &ldquo;I&rsquo;m not a dude!&nbsp; When I&rsquo;m talking to you, you shut your mouth and you listen!&rdquo;</p><p>The officer is unhinged. The video is about three and a half minutes and there are several times when the confrontation seems to be over. The kids stand around looking down and shuffling their feet but then the cop turns around, comes back and kicks it off again.</p><p>&ldquo;Son, what is your problem?&nbsp; Do you go to school and give your teacher this kind of lip and back-talk your teacher?&nbsp; Now what makes you think you can do it to a police officer?&rdquo;</p><p>The teen, flabbergasted, says Duuuude.&rdquo;</p><p>&ldquo;Stop calling me dude!&rdquo; the officer yells. &ldquo;A dude is somebody who works on a ranch!&nbsp; I&rsquo;m not man, I&rsquo;m not dude, I am officer Rivieri.&rdquo;</p><p>It was probably helpful that Officer Rivieri identified himself on tape for future disciplinary proceedings. He was fired.</p><p>Cops are trained to take control, but Chicago police are being taught there&rsquo;s more than one way to do that. You don&rsquo;t always have to come on strong, yelling out commands. In fact, officers are learning that that approach can actually make policing much harder.</p><p><strong>McCarthy cites research</strong></p><p>The video with Officer Rivieri is being used in a class at the Chicago police academy in what NOT to do. The one-day training on something called police legitimacy, an idea based on academic research into effective policing. Superintendent Garry McCarthy has been pushing it since he came to Chicago. He often drops the names of researchers and academics Tracey Meares and Tom Tyler who have articulated and championed the twin ideas of procedural justice and police legitimacy.</p><p>McCarthy explained those ideas on WBEZ&rsquo;s Afternoon Shift in February of 2012.</p><p>&ldquo;It&rsquo;s not what you do, it&rsquo;s how you do it,&rdquo; said McCarthy. &quot;So you can stop somebody but when you explain to them why you stopped them, and when you leave them with a different taste in their mouths rather than saying now, get the hell off the corner, there&rsquo;s a whole different intention that people take away from that encounter.&rdquo;</p><p>So, let&rsquo;s say you get pulled over and get a ticket but the cop was really nice. The research finds that you could leave that interaction feeling good about police even though you got a ticket. On the flip side, let&rsquo;s say you don&rsquo;t get the ticket but the cop is a total&hellip; well, let&rsquo;s keep it clean for the kids and just say he&rsquo;s not nice. Even though you didn&rsquo;t get a ticket you&rsquo;ll likely leave that interaction with a negative view of police.</p><p>The point is, it&rsquo;s not just the outcome that matters. The process is important, hence the name: procedural justice. McCarthy explains. &ldquo;You explain to them why you stopped them, somebody got shot here, there&rsquo;s somebody with a gun around the corner, whatever the case might be, instead of just saying, &lsquo;Shut up.&nbsp; I&rsquo;ll ask the questions.&rsquo;&nbsp; Whole different dynamic there, so that&rsquo;s a cultural change in policing that we have to infuse into the department-- of respect.&rdquo;</p><p>Since McCarthy made those comments almost two years ago the department has trained 8,000&nbsp; officers. McCarthy says this is a step towards repairing the legacy of mistrust between poor communities of color and the police.</p><p><strong>At the police academy</strong></p><p>By seven on a fall morning, Mike Reischl is getting a couple dozen officers settled in a class room at the Chicago Police Academy on the city&rsquo;s West Side. He tells the officers there&rsquo;s coffee in the back and asks them to contribute 50 cents. He clarifies that all the money goes to purchasing the coffee and drinks at the back. I guess it&rsquo;s just in case you think someone might be skimming a couple quarters here and there.</p><p>&ldquo;Police legitimacy, it&rsquo;s got a lousy name doesn&rsquo;t it?&nbsp; It does!&rdquo; Reischl tells the class. &ldquo;Somewhere along the line you get the connotation that somehow you&rsquo;re illegitimate, right?&nbsp; So you got to come here and be legitimate.&rdquo;</p><p>Reischl tells the officers that they&rsquo;re not here because something went wrong, or because someone filed a lawsuit.</p><p>Like the other instructors Reischl wears a shirt and tie and there&rsquo;s a gun on his hip. Police officers sit in plainclothes at desks pushed together into groups of four. Half the lights are off in the room so it&rsquo;s easier to see the powerpoint presentation on the screen. Reischl casts a shadow on the screen as he moves around the front of the classroom and lays out a scenario.</p><p>&ldquo;You got four gangbangers up against the car,&rdquo; Reischl says. &ldquo;It&rsquo;s Friday night in the summertime, it&rsquo;s a real hot night.&nbsp; It&rsquo;s going to be rocking and rolling all night long and all weekend long.&nbsp; So you start your tour of duty, you want to find out what&rsquo;s going on, what&rsquo;s the conflicts?&nbsp; What&rsquo;s the problems I&rsquo;m going to have to manage?&nbsp; So you see the usuals on the corner and you throw &lsquo;em up against the car and you start going through &lsquo;em. You want that intelligence, okay, you build that rapport. All of a sudden they start talking to you. Yeah, Junebug&rsquo;s mad at Mookie.&nbsp; Mookie&rsquo;s mad at Junebug, all that kind of nonsense. Alright?&nbsp; But there&rsquo;s four of them and there&rsquo;s two of you. Good officer safety technique, hey get another unit over there. Go on the radio get back-up. The gangbangers, they start giving you the information you need. All weekend long you&rsquo;re going to need this information. All of a sudden your back-up shows up, car pulls up, all of a sudden copper hops out of the car, starts walking toward those kids, every one of those kids shut up because they realize who&rsquo;s walking towards them. All of a sudden all of that intel goes out the window.&nbsp; Why did they shut up when that one officer shows up on the scene?&nbsp; Didn&rsquo;t treat them fairly and respectfully, and now guess what?&nbsp; You don&rsquo;t know what&rsquo;s going on on your beat.&rdquo;</p><p>I can&rsquo;t help but think that if there are any cops in this room who have used bull-headed techniques in the past, they might be shrinking in their chairs at the thought that their brothers and sisters in blue might view their tactics as moronic. Reischl goes on to tell his students they need to listen to the citizens they&rsquo;re serving.&nbsp;</p><p>&ldquo;If you don&rsquo;t give anybody a voice and you don&rsquo;t listen, the people on the other end get irritated and get mad.&nbsp; How many coppers, &lsquo;sit down, shut up.&rsquo;&nbsp; &lsquo;I didn&rsquo;t even tell you why I&hellip;.&rsquo; &lsquo;Sit down and shut up!&rsquo;&nbsp; Well, I didn&rsquo;t even tell you why i called you&hellip;.&rsquo;&nbsp; &lsquo; SIT DOWN AND SHUT UP I&rsquo;M THE POLICE I&rsquo;LL LOCK YOU UP!&rsquo;&nbsp; Coppers do that, right?&nbsp; They don&rsquo;t give em the voice,&rdquo; says&nbsp; Reischl.</p><p>All this training is based on research measuring how citizens engage with police. But Reischl knows his audience and he and the other instructors sometimes poke fun at the &ldquo;pointy headed&rdquo; researchers and academics who come up with the phrases like, &ldquo;giving voice.&rdquo; But one instructor tells the cops that even the best batters in the major leagues take advice on their swing from people who can&rsquo;t hit a ball but know the physics of hitting the sweet spot on the bat.</p><p>And the instructors appeal to the officers&rsquo; self-interest.</p><p><strong>Chill out.&nbsp; You&rsquo;ll be less stressed.</strong></p><p>Reischl asks each pod of four officers to write down their goals on a large white sheet of paper that&rsquo;s taped to the wall. Each group comes up with essentially the same list. The officers want to make it home safe each night, make it to retirement and avoid lawsuits or getting sent to prison themselves.</p><p>Instructors then talk about how treating citizens with respect is a way to get more trust and compliance from citizens. Compliance means less stress and less physical contact and that means cops get to go home safe.</p><p>For Officer Nicholas Gould, a lot of this is just common sense. &ldquo;It&rsquo;s a good day if you don&rsquo;t throw down.&nbsp; I don&rsquo;t need to come to work and get hurt.&nbsp; I don&rsquo;t need broken bones or skinned knees or, what&rsquo;s the one rule?&nbsp; To go home safely,&rdquo; Gould says.</p><p>Gould is 6&rsquo;1&rdquo; and more than 300 pounds and in this classroom he kind of looks like an adult sitting in a child-sized desk. We chat during a break and he tells me perhaps because of his size, he rarely needs to put his hands on people to get them to comply ,but he also says he&rsquo;s respectful and able to keep his cool even in heated situations.</p><p>&ldquo;I&rsquo;m able to, I don&rsquo;t know how you say this, like, just calm people.&nbsp; I&rsquo;m very good at that,&rdquo; he says..</p><p><strong>Does it work?</strong></p><p>A couple officers I talk to make fun of this class. One who is a couple months from retirement says it&rsquo;s a little bit late.&nbsp; But most of the officers say it&rsquo;s a good reminder. That&rsquo;s what Lt. Bruce Lipman hoped when he developed the training.</p><p>&ldquo;It&rsquo;s a fairly nasty part of society that police see,&rdquo; Lipman says during the lunch break of the legitimacy training. &ldquo;We very seldom get called to a house and asked, &lsquo;Hey listen, you want to come over and have tea and coffee?&rsquo; Even people who are, you know, just victimized, we feel bad for those victims. Just over time, just starts to make officers cynical and they start to kind of lose their way a little bit about why they started on the job.&nbsp; Most of the officers, 99 percent of the time, I mean really, and the statistics bear this out, do the right thing. They&rsquo;ve learned this is the way to do it but this is more like a refresher for them.&rdquo;</p><p><strong>More research</strong></p><p>Lipman says the police department isn&rsquo;t just hoping that this training has an impact. They&rsquo;re measuring it with help from Wesley Skogan at Northwestern University. Lipman says thousands of officers have been surveyed, some before taking the training and some after. They were asked to rate statements like &ldquo;listening and talking to people is a good way to take charge of situations.&rdquo; Officers who filled out the survey after the training gave that statement significantly more importance than officers who hadn&rsquo;t yet had the training.</p></p> Sat, 21 Dec 2013 23:29:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/8000-chicago-cops-now-little-friendlier-109425 Chicago is hub for heroin in the Midwest http://www.wbez.org/news/chicago-hub-heroin-midwest-109373 <p><div class="image-insert-image "><div class="image-insert-image "><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/rw1.jpg" title="Federal prosecutors say Chicagoans were dealing heroin on streets like this in Waterloo, Iowa. (WBEZ/Rob Wildeboer)" /></div></div></div><p>There have been times in her life when Connie Johnson was homeless along with her six children. &ldquo;Going to relatives&rsquo; house, day in day out, they get tired of you,&rdquo; Johnson says in a recent interview. &nbsp;We&rsquo;re in the kitchen of her second floor apartment on Chicago&rsquo;s West Side. &ldquo;Everyone extend their hand but when you come in, it&rsquo;s, the story changes, welcome ran out kind of fast, you know?&rdquo;&nbsp;</p><p>Then about eight years ago, she heard from a niece living in Waterloo, Iowa, a 5-hour drive from Chicago. &ldquo;She was saying that you can get work there, so, we all moved down there and everybody that went got work: my daughter, my sons, my husband.&rdquo;&nbsp;</p><p>It was a hopeful start and things were good there, for a while anyway.&nbsp;</p><p>Johnson walks from the kitchen past the bathroom to the dining room (her apartment is a typical layout for a Chicago 2-flat.) Her bedroom is just off the dining room and on the windowsill she keeps a plaque. It was awarded to her husband Lusta and is a reminder of those good times in Iowa.</p><p>&ldquo;This is the plaque from Tyson that Lusta had got and it says &lsquo;for five years service,&rsquo; but he actually worked there about seven years,&rdquo; she says.</p><p>Tyson is Tyson Foods, which makes things like Asian chicken thighs and honey chicken tenders. That&rsquo;s where her husband Lusta found work in Iowa. Johnson keeps the plaque in plastic. The Tyson logo and the brass plate with her husband&rsquo;s name are pristine. Johnson tells me it &ldquo;shows that he was doing something, that he was headed to doing the right thing, you know?&rdquo;&nbsp;</p><p>But things went sideways. Her husband is addicted to heroin, has been since the late 70s. She has also struggled with addiction, as have other members of the family. In Iowa, in addition to working new jobs at Tyson, they bought and sold heroin. Now Johnson&rsquo;s son is doing 15 years federal time. Her sister-in-law, 15 years federal time. Her nephew is doing life and her husband Lusta is facing trial and likely a similar fate.</p><p><strong>The size of a pencil eraser</strong></p><p>&ldquo;Lusta Johnson distributed heroin,&rdquo; says federal prosecutor Lisa Williams in an interview at the new glass-and-stone federal courthouse in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Williams has indicted much of the Johnson family and knows their stories well.</p><p>&ldquo;They all long before they came to Waterloo had heroin habits. &nbsp;And so when they got to Waterloo the heroin habit didn&rsquo;t go away just by crossing the state line and so they found themselves back into distributing heroin, obtaining it in Chicago and using it as well,&rdquo; Williams says.&nbsp;</p><p>In the Johnson case Williams says they would bring back heroin in amounts of 10, 15, sometimes 20 or 30 grams. To get an idea of what that looks like, Williams says one gram of heroin is about the size of a pencil eraser. &ldquo;And so you would take 30 of those eraser tops and that would be 30 grams. It would fit in your palm about so it&rsquo;s not a huge quantity but it&rsquo;s still a significant quantity,&rdquo; said Williams.</p><p>It&rsquo;s also profitable. Williams says a gram goes for about $100 in Chicago; a four- or five-hour drive to Iowa doubles its value. So 30 grams would be $3,000 in Chicago and $6,000 in Iowa. But there&rsquo;s more.</p><p>Williams says you can cut the heroin and mix it with another substance like sleeping pills. &ldquo;So not only do you double your money, but you&rsquo;re tripling your quantity and so that&rsquo;s how you can really start to make a profit on it.&rdquo;</p><p>Williams says that $3,000 of heroin in Chicago can be worth $12,000 or $18,000 in Iowa.</p><p>In addition to the Johnson case, Williams is prosecuting other Chicagoans who moved out to Iowa and sold heroin, 36 cases in all right now. And there are others.</p><div class="image-insert-image "><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/450-iowa-3.jpg" style="float: left; height: 201px; width: 300px;" title="The apartment complex where prosecutors say Chicagoans had moved to and were dealing heroin out of. (WBEZ/Rob Wildeboer)" /><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/450-iowa-2.jpg" style="float: left; height: 201px; width: 300px;" title="The Sherwood Court apartment complex in Waterloo, Iowa dead ends into a cemetery, making surveillance difficult, according to a DEA investigator’s Court testimony. (WBEZ/Rob Wildeboer)" /></div></div></div><p><strong>Heroin sales not so blatant in Iowa</strong></p><p>Sergeant Dave Dostal of the Cedar Rapids police department stands on the curb in an older neighborhood in Cedar Rapids close to the central part of the city. The houses look like the houses in many other Midwestern towns, foursquare homes that could be beautiful but many of them are run down. Dostal points to a house with an appliance sitting in the front yard and says two guys from Chicago moved there and started selling heroin, and cars would be driving up all day. &ldquo;Classic drug trafficking signs, you know, short term traffic,&rdquo; says Dostal.</p><p>Cedar Rapids is not like Chicago where guys are standing on the corners. Here, you need to know someone. Dostal says police made some buys by calling the dealers on cell phones and then meeting them, sometimes at a Laundromat just across the street.</p><p>&ldquo;We&rsquo;d set up surveillance and photograph as the individuals would come out of this house, walk over, transaction would be completed and then that individual would walk back to this place,&rdquo; Dostal says as he points between the house and the Laundromat.</p><p>But Dostal didn&rsquo;t arrest them for making small individual sales. He was putting together a larger case. &ldquo;What happens is, if they&rsquo;re selling out of one specific house and your surveillance is done long enough and you get probable cause for a search warrant, you&rsquo;re going to get them and all their product and maybe money,&rdquo; he says. That means more serious charges and heavier time.</p><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><p>Dostal says the surveillance of this house was part of a case that led to federal charges for 11 more people bringing heroin from Chicago.</p><p><strong>Cedar Rapids the end of the line</strong></p><p>Dostal says Cedar Rapids isn&rsquo;t a drug hub like Chicago. No one&rsquo;s moving heroin through Cedar Rapids, it&rsquo;s the end of the line.&nbsp;According to the DEA in Cedar Rapids, there have been 200 heroin overdoses in Northeastern Iowa since 2007, and 50 of those overdoses resulted in death.&nbsp;One of those people was Jon Jelinek&rsquo;s 22-year-old son Sam.</p><div class="image-insert-image "><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/450-iowa-1.jpg" style="float: right; height: 201px; width: 300px;" title="Jon Jelinek standing in front of the bedroom where he found his son dead of a heroin overdose. (WBEZ/Rob Wildeboer)" /></div></div><p>Jelinek learned about his son&rsquo;s heroin addiction when Sam was arrested once. Jelinek helped him get clean and stuck with him through a relapse and an overdose. And they talked. Sam told him his heroin was being brought into Cedar Rapids by two cousins from Chicago.</p><p>On March 22 of this year Sam didn&rsquo;t show up for work. He worked at the restaurant Jelinek owns and Jelinek called him. &ldquo;Didn&rsquo;t get any call back. &nbsp;Had lunch and then about 1:30 felt something in my stomach saying something ain&rsquo;t right so I jumped in my truck, and I knew all the way out here, I knew he had overdosed,&rdquo; Jelinek says.</p><p>Sam&rsquo;s room was locked so Jelinek kicked in the door. &ldquo;I found him kneeling on his knees, with his head in his pillow, like he was trying to get up out of bed, the needle was still in between his fingers,&rdquo; said Jelinek.&nbsp;</p><p>Jelinek walks through the foyer of the house where his son died, down a couple steps to the family room. The door to Sam&rsquo;s bedroom is in the corner. He goes to the door and pushes it open. &ldquo;This is the first time I&rsquo;ve been back in here since.&rdquo;</p><p>Jelinek looks down and sees a belt on the floor and picks it up. &ldquo;This is his tourniquet. They put it just like you see on T.V. &nbsp;Put it around, bite it and pull it, so they get that vein sticking out.&rdquo; He pauses, silent. &ldquo;It&rsquo;s just sad that it come to that,&rdquo;&nbsp;he finally says.</p><p>Jelinek blames the dealers. He says his son was trying to get clean, but because dealing in Cedar Rapids is all done by cell phone the dealers had Sam&rsquo;s number and they texted him that they had a new shipment in. It must have been too much to resist.</p><p><strong>Dealers often users and victims too</strong></p><p>Back on the West Side of Chicago, in her second floor apartment, Connie Johnson weeps in her kitchen. She weeps because much of her family is going to be in federal prison for many years for dealing heroin. But she also weeps because of all the harm heroin has done to her and her husband; there have been decades of addiction, poverty and homelessness. She says heroin is an ugly thing. And I ask her, if the authorities don&rsquo;t lock up the people dealing, people like her son and husband, what should they do to stop this ugly drug that kills people and ruins lives?</p><p>Through tears she says she wishes she knew the answer.</p><p><em>The Chicago Reader&rsquo;s Mick Dumke contributed reporting for this story.</em></p></p> Mon, 16 Dec 2013 05:00:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/chicago-hub-heroin-midwest-109373 Heroin moves to Chicago suburbs in small amounts through users http://www.wbez.org/news/heroin-moves-chicago-suburbs-small-amounts-through-users-109326 <p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Eisenhower-overpass-justin-kern.jpg" title="I-290 is expressway to heroin for west suburban drug users (Flickr/Justin Kern)" /></div><p>Gabriela Muro&rsquo;s mother and stepfather live in a quiet townhome development in west suburban Aurora. The streets are named after trees and the uniform buildings are tidy. Next to the two-car garage is the front door, which opens to a two-story foyer with wood floors. When she was 15 years old Muro started making the drive from this townhome to Chicago&rsquo;s West Side to buy heroin. The first time she went she made the trip with the friends who had introduced her to heroin.</p><p>&ldquo;So I just remember like getting on 88 and then going to 290 and just going to this ghetto area off of Independence,&rdquo; said Muro at a recent interview at her parents&rsquo; house.</p><p>Muro quickly got over her fear of Chicago&rsquo;s West Side and started making the 60-mile round trip more and more often.</p><p>Muro had dealers that she used pretty consistently, a brother and sister that she liked. She&rsquo;d call them on a cell phone and they&rsquo;d ask her how much she needed and then they&rsquo;d tell her where to go. She usually went to their house at Austin and Washington, but sometimes her dealers would be out and about and she&rsquo;d have to meet them elsewhere.</p><p>&ldquo;Many time&rsquo;s I&rsquo;ve had to go to the beauty salon where the girl was getting her hair done and just wait outside until she was done. Many times I&rsquo;ve just had to go to their house and just have one of their family members come out and give it to us. We&rsquo;ve had to go to family functions like cook outs,&rdquo; said Muro.</p><p>Muro says she once went to Humboldt Park where the entire extended family was having a party. &ldquo;And they were all in like, I guess, their little business. They all knew what was going on.&rdquo;</p><p>The heroin trade relies heavily on networks. Dealers can&rsquo;t advertise so they use word of mouth and reward users who bring in new business. &ldquo;Oh yeah, like if we sent people their way they would hook us up with more bags,&rdquo; Muro said. .</p><p>Muro introduced a number of her suburban friends to her dealer. She&rsquo;s since realized that her friends who got her into heroin and took her to Chicago, they were doing the same thing. They were using her to get more for themselves.</p><p>As her addiction deepened, Muro sometimes found herself commuting to the West Side three times a day.</p><p>&ldquo;Well we would spend our whole day just, we would wake up in the morning, go straight to the city, come back, get more money, go back to the city, we were constantly working on getting our next high.&nbsp; It was like a full-time job being a heroin addict,&rdquo; said Muro.</p><p><strong>I-290 is a trigger</strong></p><p>Frankie Bauer has been clean for two months but this is his sixth time in rehab. He&rsquo;s relapsed five times. He&rsquo;s got to stay away from things that could trigger a relapse and the Eisenhower Expressway is definitely a trigger.</p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Frankie-B-300.jpg" style="float: right;" title="Twenty-two-year-old Frankie Bauer can’t drive on the I-290 Eisenhower Expressway because the temptation to pull off on the West Side and buy heroin is too great to resist (WBEZ/Rob Wildeboer)." /></div><p>&ldquo;Your stomach starts churning,&rdquo;&nbsp; Bauer recounted in an interview at the Blue Island library near the sober living facility where he stays. &ldquo;Dogs do that, they do that thing with the ringing of the bell. Ring a bell, show a dog meat. Ring a bell, show a dog meat ,and then ring a bell and the dog salivates. That&rsquo;s how it is with heroin addicts on 290.&rdquo;</p><p>Bauer is 22. He grew up in the western suburbs and remembers his friends prepping their syringes and cooking rigs in the backseat as they headed towards his dealer on Kostner just a couple blocks south of the Eisenhower. He says as soon as he got some heroin he&rsquo;d pull into an alley and take two minutes to shoot up and then get back on the highway. Or sometimes, he&rsquo;d shoot up in the parking lot of Rush hospital, which is nearby, just off 290. He and his friends knew the hospital because they also went there for drug treatment.</p><p>Bauer usually worked with the same dealer, but if his dealer didn&rsquo;t have any dope he&rsquo;d hit the blocks on the West Side.</p><p>&ldquo;You just hop off of 290 at you know, you could go to Harlem, Austin, you could go to Cicero, Independence, you could just get off at any of those exits and all you gotta do is look for a guy standing on the corner, just ride up to him say, &lsquo;Yo,&rsquo; he&rsquo;ll ask you what you need, you&rsquo;ll tell him and he&rsquo;ll sell it to you and that&rsquo;s really it,&rdquo; said Bauer. &ldquo;You could be pulling up and buying dope and the cops will just drive by. They don&rsquo;t do anything about it and it&rsquo;s disgusting how you could see people standing on the corner, and you know what they&rsquo;re there for, and you know what you can score from them, and nothing was done.&rdquo;</p><p>Of course, Chicago police do arrest lots of drug offenders, but driving around the West Side it&rsquo;s easy to see why Bauer thinks nothing is being done. Such open drug dealing is much less common in the suburbs-- one reason so many kids are commuting on 290.</p><p><strong>Naperville police monitoring heroin users</strong></p><p>&ldquo;If they bring anything back it&rsquo;s usually a small amount and they share it with their friends. So there&rsquo;s not a hub here, where heroin&rsquo;s being distributed, it&rsquo;s basically Chicago,&rdquo; said Naperville deputy police chief Brian Cunningham.</p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/suspected-users-2012-400.jpg" style="float: left;" title="Naperville police keep track of suspected heroin users (Naperville Police Presentation, 2012)" /><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/networks-400.jpg" style="float: left;" title="Naperville police track networks of suspected users (Courtesy: Naperville Police Presentation, 2012)" /></div><p><strong>RELATED:&nbsp;<a href="http://www.chicagoreader.com/chicago/heroin-arrests-sales-dealers-west-side-economics/Content?oid=11722393" target="_blank">The&nbsp;<em>Chicago Reader</em>&#39;s Mick Dumke on the business of drugs: The West Side&rsquo;s main employer&nbsp;</a></strong></p><p>Cunningham has spent much of his career either working, or overseeing, narcotics investigations. On his desk is a folder with the most recent crime statistics.</p><p>&ldquo;This, the current year, we&rsquo;re at three confirmed heroin deaths in Naperville,&rdquo; Cunningham said last week.</p><p>That&rsquo;s down compared to recent years when Naperville had as many as 10 heroin deaths but Cunningham says the number of overdoses has been consistent this year. He says that means kids are still using just as much as they did in 2011 and 2012.</p><p>&ldquo;We have kids doing burglaries. We have kids doing thefts but they&rsquo;re not actually dying from it so heroin is a huge, huge issue with us,&rdquo; said Cunningham.</p><p>In his file of crime statistics Cunningham has a map of Naperville with little stars. The stars represent heroin users in town. Not dealers, or drug markets--users. The police are trying to keep an eye on every addict. It&rsquo;s quite a contrast to Chicago&rsquo;s West Side.</p><p>Cunningham says Naperville police will follow kids into the city and do surveillance of them buying drugs and driving back to the suburbs.</p><p>&ldquo;The one thing about heroin addicts, from my own personal experience of dealing with them and arresting them and from the units, is that when you arrest a heroin addict, they&rsquo;re very willing for the most part to tell you exactly what&rsquo;s going on.&nbsp; It&rsquo;s almost like they&rsquo;re reaching out for help,&rdquo; he said.</p><p>Cunningham admits that many addicts also share information hoping to get out of the station quickly and avoid dope sickness, the sickness that sets in when they don&rsquo;t have access to heroin. And because heroin dealing relies so much on networks and relationships, heroin users know each other and can share that information with police.</p><p><strong>Temptation too much</strong></p><p>Gabriela Muro from Aurora was once arrested in the city of Chicago. She says she led police to a dealer she rarely used because she didn&rsquo;t want to give up her main dealer, something that could have choked off her supply. She was also arrested in DuPage County by an officer who had been following them and recounted everywhere they&rsquo;d been that day, including shooting up in a Walgreens parking lot and then getting back on the expressway.</p><div class="image-insert-image "><div class="image-insert-image "><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/munro-300.jpg" style="float: right;" title="Gabriela Muro sometimes drove from Aurora to Chicago’s West Side three times a day to buy heroin. (WBEZ/Robert Wildeboer)" /></div></div></div><p>Muro got probation a couple times and then was put in a drug court program, &ldquo;and I did well for like five months but drug court placed me in a halfway house on the West Side, like literally a block away from my dealer&rsquo;s house,&rdquo; said Muro. The temptation was too much.</p><p>Eventually she got charged with breaking into houses and got two years. She&rsquo;s glad she got such a long sentence. &ldquo;If I would have gotten out I would have been doing the same stuff because for the first six months that I was in there I still wanted to get high,&rdquo; she said. It took that long for her to get over her cravings.</p><p>Muro&rsquo;s now been clean for three years, long enough. she says, that she can drive down the Eisenhower Expressway without wanting to pull off to buy some heroin.</p></p> Mon, 09 Dec 2013 06:01:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/heroin-moves-chicago-suburbs-small-amounts-through-users-109326 Cook County prosecutors shave time off sentences for El Rukn hitmen http://www.wbez.org/news/cook-county-prosecutors-shave-time-sentences-el-rukn-hitmen-109230 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/Nathson Fields.JPG" alt="" /><p><p>In the 1980s Nathson Fields was an El Rukn gang member. He was convicted of a double murder, but it was thrown out when the judge in the case, Thomas Maloney, was convicted of taking bribes. In his retrial Fields was found not guilty.</p><p>Cook County Judge Paul Biebel granted Fields a certificate of innocence but the State&rsquo;s attorney&rsquo;s office under Anita Alvarez appealed that and won, leading to a second petition for a certificate of innocence.&nbsp; Prosecutors are fighting that petition in court.</p><p>During a weeks-long hearing that ended Friday afternoon, two El Rukn gang members testified that Fields did indeed commit the murders. But Earl Hawkins and Derrick Kees aren&rsquo;t the most credible witnesses. Each has participated in more than a dozen murders, according to attorneys and court transcripts.</p><p>Fields&rsquo; attorneys say they&rsquo;ve never heard of a case of prosecutors shaving the sentences of murderers in exchange for testimony in a civil matter. Fields is suing the City of Chicago and a certificate of innocence would help that. Judge Biebel says he&rsquo;ll have a decision on the request for a certificate of innocence by the end of February.</p></p> Fri, 22 Nov 2013 16:49:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/cook-county-prosecutors-shave-time-sentences-el-rukn-hitmen-109230 Chicago police throw away $2 million a year in potential gun sales http://www.wbez.org/news/chicago-police-throw-away-2-million-year-potential-gun-sales-108933 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/Seized G.jpg" alt="" /><p><p dir="ltr">The Chicago Police Department throws out about $2 million every year. It&rsquo;s money that is forfeited by the city when police destroy the guns they seize rather than sell them to licensed firearms dealers. The decision is made for emotional, political and ideological reasons.</p><p><strong>Getting guns &ldquo;off the street&rdquo;</strong></p><p>Nearly every Monday morning this year, Chicago Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy has held a press conference to update the public on how many guns they&rsquo;ve confiscated in Chicago, and the number right now is more than 5,500 guns.</p><p>According to annual reports published by Chicago police, the department often seizes and recovers more than 10,000 guns a year. &nbsp;What happens to those guns? They&rsquo;re destroyed.</p><p>A Chicago police spokesman says they never sell any of the guns they recover, but some municipalities do sell evidence guns.</p><p><strong>A quiet town</strong></p><p>St. Charles is a suburb 40 miles west of Chicago. &nbsp;The police station sits on the east bank of the Fox River. &nbsp;It&rsquo;s a low building with large overhangs designed in a kind of Frank Lloyd Wright style but utilitarian. &nbsp;Police Chief James Lamkin walks me down a couple long, low hallways to the evidence room at the back of the station. Lamkin jokes about a huge jar of pretzels the evidence tech keeps on the counter so officers can munch while they&rsquo;re submitting evidence.</p><p>Lamkin points past the pretzels. &ldquo;There&rsquo;s a vault in behind this area back here where evidence is collected and it&rsquo;s retained until cases are done with in court,&rdquo; said Lamkin in an August interview with WBEZ.</p><p>Earlier this year Lamkin took 15 guns that had been stored in this evidence room and he sold them to a local firearms dealer. He didn&rsquo;t do it on his own. He had the approval of the city council. He says it wasn&rsquo;t a controversial issue, but he thinks that&rsquo;s because gun violence is such a rarity in St. Charles.</p><p>&ldquo;I don&rsquo;t even know when was the last time there was a shooting here, maybe one in the last 20 years,&rdquo; said Lamkin.</p><p>&ldquo;We did consider the fact at one point that we could just destroy them; however, I think that with the initiatives that we&rsquo;ve had in recent years in the city in trying to generate revenue, to us this was revenue,&rdquo; said Lamkin.</p><p>St. Charles sold 15 firearms: handguns, revolvers, and a couple shotguns for a total of $3,200. That&rsquo;s about $200 per gun. If Chicago did the same thing and got $200 for each of the 10,000 guns it confiscates, the city could be netting an extra $2 million a year.</p><p>Two million dollars could fund a couple sports programs or after school activities. You could rebuild a park, hire CeaseFire workers or a handful of extra cops.</p><p>&ldquo;Some law enforcement will argue that any gun removed from the street is one less gun that has the potential to be on the street. &nbsp;We&rsquo;re not putting them out on the street. We&rsquo;re putting them with gun dealers. &nbsp;Yeah, I suppose you could say you got one less gun out there but that just creates an opportunity for a gun manufacturer to make one more gun,&rdquo; said Lamkin.</p><p>St. Charles is of course much different than Chicago, and Lamkin says he understands why Chicago doesn&rsquo;t sell seized firearms. Lamkin says each community should be able to decide for itself what to do with confiscated guns. John Becker disagrees.</p><p><strong>Some states prohibiting the destruction of guns</strong></p><p>John Becker is a legislator in Ohio who says he carries a concealed firearm. He represents a district just outside Cincinnati and watches the Cincinnati news.</p><p>&ldquo;So you know I occasionally see the weapons room on T.V. in Cincinnati, and they&rsquo;ll show all these rifles and handguns and shotguns on this table that are on the way to the blast furnace or the scrap yard or wherever they&rsquo;re going, and I find myself shouting at the T.V. set, it&rsquo;s like &lsquo;you idiots! &nbsp;You could be selling these things and getting money for the department,&rdquo; Becker said in a recent phone interview.</p><p>Becker is sponsoring a bill that would prohibit police departments from destroying otherwise useable guns. A similar bill was recently signed into law in North Carolina. In Illinois, Richard Pearson with the State Rifle Association says he would be in favor of similar legislation here, but he says there&rsquo;s currently no plans for such a law.</p><p>Representative Becker in Ohio is new in the state house and he says no one was pushing him to tackle this issue. &ldquo;This is just something that has been a pet peeve of mine for a long time,&rdquo; said Becker. &ldquo;It&rsquo;s irked me, where you know you hear of law enforcement complaining how they need more money, and then perfectly good firearms they could be selling to make money for the department, they scrap them. So they&rsquo;re costing the taxpayers money and I&rsquo;m looking to save money for the taxpayers.&rdquo;</p><p><strong>Just saying no to guns</strong></p><p>I&rsquo;ve talked to a number of gun control advocates who are happy the city of Chicago destroys seized guns, but their views seem rooted in a general aversion to firearms. It seems like a knee-jerk reaction of some sort. They couldn&rsquo;t point to any benefits the city gets other than &lsquo;it&rsquo;s one less gun on the streets.&rsquo;</p><p>According to several researchers I talked to, including Phil Cook, one of the country&rsquo;s most respected gun policy researchers, there&rsquo;s no evidence to show that police departments get any advantage from destroying guns instead of selling them. Cook says no one has studied that question.</p><p>So given there&rsquo;s no clear benefit and there&rsquo;s a clear cost of about $2 million a year, why does the Chicago Police Department destroy the guns it seizes?</p><p>&ldquo;I think this is more an idealogical issue than it is a symbolic issue,&rdquo; said Tom Diaz, author of the book Making a Killing: The business of guns in America.</p><p>Diaz has spent the last 15 years trying to understand the gun debate in America. He says this issue of police departments destroying firearms simply exposes a deep ideological divide in this country.</p><p>&ldquo;On one end are people who think we should just get rid of guns, so anytime there&rsquo;s an opportunity to grind up, cut up, destroy guns, that&rsquo;s what they want on the theory that, fewer guns, better for society,&rdquo; said Diaz. And on the other side are people who think more guns, more safety.</p><p>I originally sought out Diaz because of his knowledge of the gun industry. It seemed to me that if anyone benefits when police departments destroy guns it&rsquo;s gun manufacturers. When you decrease supply you increase demand, right?</p><p><strong>Drop in the ocean</strong></p><p dir="ltr">Theoretically Diaz says that could be true, but he says it&rsquo;s not really going to impact the bottom line for gun makers because the market is just so huge. &ldquo;However many firearms one might hypothetically, say Chicago Police department, or any other police department, are going to sell, is going to be the proverbial drop in the ocean,&rdquo; said Diaz.</p><p>In 2010, 8.5 million guns were either manufactured or imported into the U.S. That&rsquo;s according to numbers kept by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. Chicago police officers risk their lives trying to get 10,000 of those guns off the streets every year. Ten thousand out of 8.5 million. A proverbial drop in the ocean indeed.</p><p><br /><br /><br />&nbsp;</p></p> Wed, 16 Oct 2013 05:55:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/chicago-police-throw-away-2-million-year-potential-gun-sales-108933 Dart: Court records in Cook County shameful http://www.wbez.org/news/dart-court-records-cook-county-shameful-108890 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/Court File.JPG" alt="" /><p><p>As the clerk of the circuit court Dorothy Brown&rsquo;s office gets a hundred million dollars a year to maintain the court files in Cook County.&nbsp; But despite that budget and 13 years in office, Brown has been unable to wean the system off of paper.</p><p>On Wednesday Sheriff Dart invited reporters into the jail to see the inefficiency first hand.</p><p>&ldquo;I am no longer going to sit by quietly and say, you know, you guys keep meeting and discussing this and talking about this,&rdquo; said Dart.&nbsp; &ldquo;The time for discussing and talking is over.&nbsp; This has got to get done now.&nbsp; It&rsquo;s frankly embarrassing that this is how our county operates through this paper driven system, that honest, when do you think the last time this changed?&nbsp; Probably the 1920s, 30s maybe?&rdquo;</p><p>Dart showed reporters the court file of one man and it was probably 10 inches thick.</p><p>&ldquo;You get stacks and stacks and stacks of paper that hasn&rsquo;t changed, truly, in 50, 60 years now.&nbsp; I mean honestly this is embarrassing that in our county this is how we move bodies through the system. Today I had 10 thousand people in here, and this is how we&rsquo;re tracking 10 thousand people,&rdquo; said Dart.</p><p>In a statement emailed to WBEZ last week Brown&rsquo;s office said they&rsquo;ve made many updates placing the system quote, &ldquo;well into the 21st century.&rdquo; Despite that statement, the fact remains they&rsquo;re still using carbon copies.</p></p> Thu, 10 Oct 2013 11:57:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/dart-court-records-cook-county-shameful-108890