The Rundown: Does Chicago need more cops?

David Brown
Chicago Police Superintendent David O. Brown responds to a question during a news conference Thursday, July 22, 2021, in Chicago. Charles Rex Arbogast / AP Photo
David Brown
Chicago Police Superintendent David O. Brown responds to a question during a news conference Thursday, July 22, 2021, in Chicago. Charles Rex Arbogast / AP Photo

The Rundown: Does Chicago need more cops?

Hey there! It’s Tuesday, and happy birthday to my nephew Matty, who turns 4. His big brother, who is 6, apparently annoyed him recently, so Matty says, “Six feet apart, man!” Here’s what you need to know today.

(By the way, if you’d like this emailed to your inbox, you can sign up here.)

1. Chicago’s police chief is under pressure to hire more officers

Members of the City Council are calling on Police Superintendent David Brown to hire more cops as Chicago’s violence remains high.

Their argument boiled down to two key points during a hearing yesterday at City Hall: Mayor Lori Lightfoot should not have eliminated 614 police vacancies in last year’s budget, and the police academy is not churning out enough potential recruits.

Brown said he is satisfied with Lightfoot’s budget proposal for this year, which includes 13,176 sworn officers. And he said ramping up hiring could allow “the wrong people” to get into the department. [Chicago Sun-Times]

Progressives, however, say more policing could lead to more violence, and the city should expand resources to residents in underserved communities. Here’s an op-ed from a Cook County public defender that explains this argument in greater detail. [Teen Vogue]

As officials across the city seek solutions, Lightfoot continues to point the finger at Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx’s office. At a press conference today, Foxx said she’s tired of the “games.” [Block Club Chicago]

2. Cook County prosecutors want more Chicago lifeguards who suffered sexual abuse to come forward

Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx announced today that lifeguards who have suffered sexual abuse at Chicago’s public beaches and pools can file their complaints at a new hotline number, 312-603-1944, where they can talk to investigators.

The news suggests Foxx’s office is stepping up its probe into how officials at the Chicago Park District handled widespread allegations of sexual abuse and violence.

A separate investigation by the park district’s internal watchdog has faced mounting questions about its integrity. The deputy inspector general who led that investigation was fired in August after alleging top park district officials had interfered with the probe.

Foxx said victims at the park district should talk to her investigators “no matter how old the allegation.” Former lifeguards have told WBEZ that the abuse goes back to the 1970s and that managers for the park district routinely disregarded complaints. [WBEZ]

3. Whistleblower says “Facebook’s products harm children, stoke division, weaken our democracy and much more”

Frances Haugen, a former Facebook product manager, told members of Congress today that the social media company purposely misleads the public about how its products harm children and stoke political divisions.

She said Facebook needs to be subject to the same kind of government regulation that covers Big Tobacco, automobiles and opioids as public safety concerns.

“The company’s leadership knows how to make Facebook and Instagram safer but won’t make the necessary changes because they have put their astronomical profits before people,” she said. “Congressional action is needed.” [NPR]

4. As Biden prepares to visit the Chicago area, his administration is crafting an “iron-clad” vaccine mandate for businesses

The Biden administration is “working carefully” to put in writing the president’s sweeping vaccine mandates as it expects legal challenges from at least two dozen Republican-controlled states, reports The Washington Post.

President Joe Biden wants companies with more than 100 employees to require vaccinations or implement testing protocols, which many businesses have already begun adopting. Biden is scheduled to visit the Chicago area on Thursday to tout the importance of vaccine mandates in the workplace. [WaPo]

Meanwhile, Johnson & Johnson today asked federal regulators to authorize booster shots of its COVID-19 vaccine, becoming the third drugmaker to do so in the U.S. [Axios]

5. Grab a bookmark, because here are the finalists for this year’s National Book Awards

Yeah, bookie? Place my bet in the poetry category. Oh shoot, sorry, didn’t see you there, dear reader! I had a phone call.

Anyway, the finalists for the National Book Awards were announced today, and lucky authors could take home $10,000 when the winners are announced on Nov. 17.

Among the finalists are some familiar faces. As NPR reports: “A handful of the short-listed writers named have been honored previously by the National Book Awards, including newly minted MacArthur ‘genius’ Hanif Abdurraqib, three-time finalist Lauren Groff and young-adult book author Kekla Magoon.”

Click the link to see a full list of the nominees. [NPR]

Here’s what else is happening

  • The Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles unanimously recommended a full posthumous pardon for George Floyd for a 2004 drug arrest. [Washington Post]
  • The U.S. could suffer another recession if Congress doesn’t raise the debt ceiling by Oct. 18, warns Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen. [Axios]
  • Former President Donald Trump is no longer on the Forbes 400 list of the wealthiest Americans. [NPR]
  • Squid Game could become the first non-English Netflix series to top the streaming platform’s most-watched list. [Axios]

Oh, and one more thing …

If you’re looking for a “scary” movie and live in Chicago, just walk to a park.

The Chicago Park District’s “Campfire Horrors” movie series returns this month, with screenings every Friday at 7 p.m. at Northerly Park, and on select Saturdays at Dvorak Park, North Park Village Nature Center and Sherman Park, reports Block Club Chicago.

The series will feature Hocus Pocus, Scream and Beetlejuice, among others. [Block Club]

Could you imagine if there were a mix-up and the park district accidentally played a really scary movie?

Tell me something good …

It’s never too early to plan your Halloween costume. What will you be this year?

Erica writes:

“I work in human resources. I was on the phone with someone the other day and we were talking about how some employees are scared to talk to HR. I jokingly said, ‘Yeah, I’m so scary that I go as myself for Halloween.’ In truth, I would love to dress up as ‘Pam from HR’ from Archer (TV show). I’m hoping someone would be able to paint her tattoo across my back.”

And Maddy Stein writes:

“I am going to be Nadja from What We Do in the Shadows and my partner is going to be Laszlo!”

Feel free to email me at therundown@wbez.org or tweet me at @whuntah, and your responses might be shared here this week.

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