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Marching in the Bud Billiken parade is a thrill that lasts a lifetime

The Morgan Park High School Marching Band marches in the 2017 Bud Billiken parade. | James Foster/For the Sun-Times

I’ll always remember the day I marched in the Bud Billiken Parade. I knew I looked magnificent in the blue Cub Scout uniform that had been washed and pressed by my mom (who claimed she miraculously spotted me in the wave of Scouts that flowed down then-South Parkway), and I didn’t mind that it became wet with sweat under the blazing sun. Years later, I marched in military parades, but none gave me the thrill I felt in that Bud Billiken Parade of long ago.

Hosea L. Martin, Bronzeville

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Failing the public

I, along with many others, was shocked by Chicago’s violence last weekend. I believe that the police are doing all they can to prevent the violence, but I also believe that the rest of the criminal justice system in Cook County is failing the public.

Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle has publicly stated that way too many black males are incarcerated, and she has made it her mission to address her concern. She has influenced State’s Attorney Kim Foxx, Chief Judge Timothy Evans and Sheriff Tom Dart to adjust their policies to follow her beliefs.

Foxx has instructed the Felony Review Unit of her office to limit the number of felony charges brought against individuals who are arrested with a firearm. The Chicago Police Department has recovered over 5,000 firearms in 2018 so far, but I doubt if even half of those arrested were charged with a felony.

The clearance rate for murders in Chicago is under 15 percent for 2018, and if one removes the domestic-related homicides and those in which the offender is deceased, one will unfortunately discover that the actual clearance rate is probably under 10 percent.

I have been informed that detectives have asked the Felony Review Unit to approve charges against individuals on many other cases, but have been turned down because they want additional evidence. I was really shocked when I heard that of the 66 reported homicides in July 2018, only one has resulted in prosecution so far.

Evans has instructed the judges in Bond Court to release as many individuals as possible on individual recognizance, or I-bonds (i.e., no cash need be posted). It makes no sense, to me, that an individual already on parole or with previous bond forfeitures should be granted an I-bond. I also find it troubling that when an individual released on an I-bond fails to appear in court, the judge who was to hear the case [can] issue a ruling of “bond forfeited, case stricken, no warrant issued.” There are no sanctions attached to failing to appear for the hearing!

The police are trying their best, but the rest of the criminal justice system is failing the citizens of Chicago. Note: I am a retired police officer with 33-plus years of service with the Chicago Police Department, and was fortunate to serve by doing investigative work for 30-plus years of my career, including assignments as commander of vice and narcotics, deputy chief of organized crime and detective division and deputy superintendent of internal affairs.

Michael Walter Hoke, Hyde Park

Back to school

Let’s send our elected officials, the Civilian Office of Police Accountability and the ACLU back to school. Chicago’s West and South sides have had gang saturation for decades. Many living in these locations have had gang affiliations. You have second and third generations of gang members in these communities who care little about working to improve their areas. They will not work with anyone to change their mentality.

Until these communities stand up and evict these elements, the gangs will continue to be parasites, bleeding them with crimes and drugs.

Randy Bassie, Forest Glen

Targeting thieves

The “bait trucks” targeted professional thieves, not children, not poor people. What if that was just an ordinary truck parked or broken down? Would it be the carrier’s fault for tempting those people? Or would their actions, which are totally of their free will and choice, have consequences?

Jim Lanham, Joliet