Next top cop is important, but supervisors make the difference with policing

The most important aspect of police leadership is the hands-on supervisors — the sergeants, lieutenants, and lesser ranks who are involved in the everyday decisions a cop makes.

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Chicago police officers at a graduation ceremony on Oct. 20, 2021.

Chicago police officers pose for pictures at a promotion and graduation ceremony in October 2021. Supervisors are as important as the top cop, a retired police lieutenant writes.

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Ever since Chicago’s Police Supt. David Brown announced his retirement, I have read so many opinions on what his replacement needs to be, it’s almost dizzying.

But while the experts are busy identifying who would be a great leader for Chicago’s cops, I hear nothing about the most important aspect of police leadership, and that is the hands-on supervisors — the sergeants, lieutenants and lesser ranks who are involved in the everyday decisions a cop makes.

No doubt the top cop sets policy, but experience tells me it’s the hands-on supervisors who are crucial. In policing, the lowest-level members of the organization make the most important decisions, such as when to use deadly force, whether to make an arrest, stop or don’t stop, the right amount of force to make an arrest, etc. Those decisions reverberate up through the chain of command, not down. No matter the policy, if the lower ranks are not executing, we see the failures, sometimes in headlines.

If we looked at scores of wrongdoing over the years by Chicago’s cops one theme always stands out, and that is “What about the supervisors?” Look at the supervision. That, after all is said and done, is the most critical aspect.

Bob Angone, retired Chicago Police lieutenant, Austin, Texas

SEND LETTERS TO: We want to hear from our readers. To be considered for publication, letters must include your full name, your neighborhood or hometown and a phone number for verification purposes. Letters should be a maximum of approximately 350 words.

Stay out of our elections

Why are politicians such as Sens. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., and Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., along with Rep. Jim Clyburn, D-S.C., weighing in on the Chicago mayoral race? None lives here. They have no understanding of how Chicago government operates. I doubt they have even met Brandon Johnson. They just like his overly progressive politics.

They should stay out of Chicago’s complicated local politics. We Chicagoans can think for ourselves.

I don’t like Paul Vallas’ proposals, either. Nor do I trust him. We have two rotten choices for mayor!

Mary Gignilliat, Lincoln Park

Seniors need help with snow shoveling

I am a senior, 88 years old, and each winter season I am unable to get snow removal help.

I have tried hiring someone.I have called the alderman in the 41st Ward and I have been unable to get help. I have always cleared my sidewalk before, but I find I am unable to do this anymore. I would appreciate any help from the city that would be approved to help people who are not able to do this.

I do agree with letter writer John LaBrandt that the streets in Norwood Park are in dire need of resurfacing.

This is an area where many seniors have lived all their lives, and we would welcome the help.

Diane Autenrieth, Chicago

Enforce snow shoveling rules

The article reporting on the idea that city government should shovel everyone’s sidewalks omits one key detail: Who will pay for all this? Tax the rich? Where will hundreds of snow shovelers suddenly come from after a storm?

If the current laws are not being enforced, concentrate on improving compliance. My condo association clears snow from five blocks after a storm with no help from the city.

Steven J. Bahnsen, South Commons

Where’s the mail?

I was thinking of filing missing persons reports for Chicago mail carriers. Where are they? I used to receive mail every day. Last week I received mail on Thursday and Friday. And now we can’t use blue mail boxes because mail is stolen and checks are washed. Is mail service simply dying?

Lorraine Buehler, Montclare

Read the real history on ‘territorial disputes’

Recently rumored Presidential candidate, Ron DeSantis, characterized the war in the Ukraine as a mere “territorial dispute.”

What would DeSantis have called Germany’s take over of Czechoslovakia? Hitler claimed that, historically, a great deal of the land of that country, which was created in the aftermath of World War I, once belonged to Germany, much as Putin claims that Ukraine originally was part of Russia. A territorial dispute?

Similarly, how would DeSantis characterize Germany’s invasion of Poland, which Hitler tried to justify by saying, among other things, that “ethnic German” Poles were being abused, much as Putin alleges that Russian-speaking Ukrainians suffer injustice.

Then, too, would DeSantis say that North Korea’s invasion of South Korea (which, so claimed the invaders, was appropriate to reunite a country that was divided in the wake of World War II) was a “territorial dispute” and not an act of communist aggression?

If DeSantis really believes what he says, he should read, or perhaps reread, his history books. If he is just saying such things for political effect, he is as disingenuous as the man he will run against in the GOP primaries.

William P. Gottschalk, Lake Forest

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