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Effective Chicago policing cannot rely on overtime

Mayoral candidate Paul Vallas writes that he cannot comment directly on the two Chicago Police officers caught napping in a photo that went viral on social media. But the larger problem, he writes, is that assigning officers to work a great deal of overtime is not the best strategy for fighting crime in Chicago. | Facebook

An editorial in Wednesday’s Sun-Times, about the implications of the recent photo of Chicago police officers asleep in their squad, fails to address the key point I was making about police staffing.

The larger point was that excessive overtime for officers is a major reason for the failing efforts to effectively combat Chicago’s relentless crime problems. I personally would not have made such a photo public and I never said it was a factor with these officers. But to the extent the photo gets the public focused on the issue of overworked cops and the city’s flailing crime reduction strategy, it provided a valuable public service.

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More important than the details of the workload of two officers is the fact that Mayor Rahm Emanuel has been relying on his failing overtime strategy for nearly eight years. He has dedicated more than a half billion dollars to this flawed effort and is only now scrambling to play catch-up on rebuilding an understaffed department.

I have been talking for months about my multi-pronged plan to aggressively rebuild the Chicago Police Department by giving officers the staffing, training and tools they need to effectively do their jobs. I also have advocated bringing back retired officers to temporarily bolster our ranks and making certain that beat integrity is observed throughout the city.

I would hope as this crucial campaign for Chicago’s future continues, more time and space will be dedicated by all Chicago media to examining the merits of the various serious public safety proposals being offered rather than getting caught up in minor distractions.

Paul Vallas, candidate for mayor

Get tougher on gun crimes

I am simply blown away by the lack of urgency from our downstate elected officials with respect to the shootings and killings in Chicago. The state’s gun laws should be changed — swift punishment, stern and long. This carnage then will stop. Also, if someone is caught with illegal guns in their home, their property should be seized. And if they are knowingly housing a shooter, their property should be seized. I’m an African American male who is sickened to see these clowns hold neighborhoods in a siege.

Mar Wilkins, Bronzeville

Trump opposes only illegal immigrants

Neil Steinberg’s latest attack on President Trump failed to mention that he is anti illegal immigrants and not anti legal immigrants. This is called fake news.

Furthermore, Steinberg ignored the news about the missing Iowa woman whose body was found yesterday, and who allegedly was murdered by an illegal from Mexico! Like most liberals, he must care more about illegals than about actual American “citizens.”

Steinberg’s continued attacks on our duly-elected president and the 63 million Americans who voted for him are only going to get Trump elected again. He should spend more time holding people accountable for the horrible violence which rages in Chicago every single day.

Mike Daly, Grayslake

Spineless GOP leaders

To me, one of the most stunning aspects of the entire White House corruption investigation is the absolute lack of spine and mail anatomy on the part of congressional Republican leadership. History will not be kind to Senate President Mitch McConnell, House Speaker Paul Ryan and others. Is there no sense at all of putting country before party? Appealing to their political base is their overriding priority, with no statesmanship. It’s beyond pathetic.

Bob Weil, Highland Park

Congrats, GOP, for giving us a disaster

Congratulations, GOP: You own this mess. You have given us the most corrupt presidency in modern times, maybe in our history. The nearly 63 million people who voted for Donald Trump share the responsibility, but you led them there with a half century of racially divisive politics. The far right wing of your Republican Party hinted at the possibility of returning to a whiter America than ever actually existed. You made Trump, the celebrity president, possible, though he is someone with more than enough baggage to sink any other GOP candidate. You gave us a president more unfit for office than any other in our 242 years. You gave us a president who puts democracy — the very foundation of our country — at risk.

Michael Hart, West Ridge