Afternoon Edition: Sept. 23, 2020

Today’s update is a 5-minute read that will brief you on the day’s biggest stories.

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Chicago police officers in the summer mobile patrol take part in a community cleanup on the South Side in July. Aldermen say such citywide units have drained cops from their police districts.

Pat Nabong/Sun-Times

Good afternoon. Here’s the latest news you need to know in Chicago. It’s about a 5-minute read that will brief you on today’s biggest stories.

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Afternoon Edition

Chicago’s most important news of the day, delivered every weekday afternoon. Plus, a bonus issue on Saturdays that dives into the city’s storied history.

This afternoon will be sunny with a high of 80 degrees. Tonight’s low will be around 58 degrees. Tomorrow, expect more beautiful weather: sunny with a high near 80 degrees.

Top story

In debate over where cops should patrol in Chicago, ‘no one wants to lose’

As about 1,000 cops have been posted this year on new citywide teams to combat gun crime, looting and rioting, Chicago police officials are trying to figure out the best way to staff the city’s 22 police districts that aldermen say are being drained of manpower.

On Monday, police Supt. David Brown announced he was adding 200 officers to a 300-officer community-safety team created in July. In addition, nearly 270 cops are on a critical-response team focused on downtown crime and crowd control across the city and about 250 cops are on a summer mobile patrol that’s being extended into November. The police force currently employs about 13,000 officers.

Criminologists say it’s a smart move for Brown to deploy citywide units to fight crime in a year when murder is up sharply. But some aldermen say they’re hearing complaints that citizens aren’t having their calls answered on time in their police districts as more cops move onto those citywide units.

And some of those same aldermen are looking forward to the results of a new study that’s supposed to help the police department allocate district officers in a more scientific way.

“There will be winners and there will be losers. And no one wants to lose,” says Ald. Jason Ervin (28th) chairman of the City Council’s Black Caucus. “So over the years, the best thing has been just to leave it alone and to create these units where you can drop somebody in for a period of time to tamp down what was happening. That’s robbing Peter to pay Paul.

“Even though it is probably in the city’s best interest to make these changes, the political will has not been there to make it happen,” Ervin said.

A realignment of manpower to put more cops where calls for service are the highest has been talked about for decades. Chicago mayors have hired consultants to make recommendations but those studies were shelved.

The current battle over how to best allocate police manpower is taking place as the city — like others across the country — is facing calls to cut the police budget and put the money in other services.

The University of Chicago Crime Lab is now studying how the police department can more efficiently deploy cops in the city’s 22 districts. The study is expected to be done by the end of the year, sources said.

“It’s about time that a better public safety model is created, particularly in North Lawndale, where I have folks leaving in droves because they don’t feel safe to come outside of their homes,” said Ald. Michael Scott Jr. (24th), one of Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s closest City Council allies.

Asked about the study, a spokeswoman for the police department released this brief statement: “CPD is continually monitoring and recalibrating resources based on operational needs.”

Read the full story from Frank Main and Fran Spielman here.

More news you need

  1. Facebook’s negligence paved the way for a 17-year-old from Illinois to fatally shoot two people in Kenosha last month amid unrest sparked by the police shooting of Jacob Blake, a newly filed lawsuit alleges. The five-count lawsuit was filed today in federal court on behalf of four people who were in Kenosha when Kyle Rittenhouse alleged killed two people.
  2. A grand jury has indicted one officer on criminal charges six months after Breonna Taylor was fatally shot by police in Kentucky. Bond was set at $15,000 for the officer.
  3. City election officials plan to drop about 245,000 ballots in the mail tomorrow, the launch day of an unprecedented effort to give voters the tools to decide the November election from the safety of their own homes. As of Tuesday morning, 406,857 Chicagoans have applied to vote by mail.
  4. Speaking of the election: it’s on Nov. 3, and voters in Illinois will cast ballots for president, U.S. House and Senate, along with state and local offices. Here’s everything you need to know about voting in Illinois — from registering to requesting an absentee ballot to voting early.
  5. Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White has extended the deadline to renew expired driver’s licenses and state ID cards until early next year amid the ongoing pandemic. The previous Nov. 1 deadline has been pushed back to Feb. 1, 2021.
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A bright one

Pound cake another pandemic loss, long the queen dessert at many funeral repasts

No one knows better than a funeral director that, pound for pound, comfort can be found from the right combination of butter, sugar, eggs and flour. Those four little words make for a sweet slice of heaven: pound cake.

Tender of crumb and butter-moist, they’re a highlight of many repasts, the after-funeral banquets, often potluck, where home bakers take quiet pride in how quickly their treats disappear. But with so many services on hold during the coronavirus pandemic, Chicago funeral home operator Spencer Leak Jr. was left craving his favorite dessert.

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Chicago funeral home operator Spencer Leak Jr. holds one of the many pound cakes that were dropped off after he said he missed his favorite treat because the pandemic has canceled funeral repasts.

Provided

So, last week, in a teasing Facebook post, he wrote: “I will pay top dollar for a pound cake. Since there are no repast[s] I havnt had a piece in over 6 months. Please help a brother out!!!”

Days later, they’re still coming in. He’s had about two dozen deliveries so far to Leak & Sons Funeral Homes. “People are dropping off pound cakes like I’ve never seen in my life,” said Leak, 50, who’s been a funeral director for 30 years.

His employees have another dining preference they’re hoping he’ll share. “My staff is asking: Can you post you have a craving for crab legs?”

Read Maureen O’Donnell’s story here.

From the press box

Gale Sayers, one of the most electric players to ever don a Bears uniform, died this morning at age 77. He had been diagnosed with dementia eight years ago, as his wifeArdythe publicly revealed in 2017.

Tributes from across the sports world poured in for Sayers after the announcement, including from former teammates Dick Butkus and Mike Ditka, ex-running back Matt Forte and NFL commissioner Roger Goodell. “Not only was he a special player, he was a good, good guy,” Ditka said.

And with the hiring of Billy Donovan yesterday, it’s apparent these aren’t the same GarPax Bulls of the last few years, Joe Cowley writes. Arturas Karnisovas must have had quite the pitch to convince Donovan to agree to a deal so quickly.

Your daily question☕

How will you remember Bears legend Gale Sayers?

Email us(please include your first name and where you live) and we might include your answer in the next Afternoon Edition.

Yesterday, we asked you: Has the pandemic made you consider moving elsewhere?Here’s what some of you said…

“Yes! As soon as my job says working from home is permanent, I’m moving somewhere near the beach. No reason to stay in Chicago anymore.”— David LaPlaca

“Yes. The lack of honesty in this country’s political landscape is maddening as well as terrifying and it has trickled to the federal health agencies. I’m disappointed and discouraged. I think I’d go to a small town in central or northern Italy.”— Delfina Cecchini Centanni

“Canada looks better and better all the time.”— Justin Blake Walters

“Not me, Chicago born and bred. I love my city.”— Adam Alton

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