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The Chicago Police Department deserves a pat on the back, no mistake about that

Some of us don’t give the police the credit they deserve. So I apologize for this lapse and say: ‘Thank you, Chicago police officers, for doing your job under extraordinary circumstances.’

Police Supt. David Brown and his department have been quietly taking care of business and deserve our appreciation.
Police Supt. David Brown and his department have been quietly taking care of business and deserve our appreciation.
Ashlee Rezin Garcia / Sun-Times file

When a Chicago police officer screws up, we don’t spare any ink letting you know.

But some of us don’t give the Chicago Police Department enough credit for catching the bad guys. I’m as guilty of this oversight as some of you.

So I apologize for this lapse and say: “Thank you, Chicago police officers, for doing your job under extraordinary circumstances.”

Given the anti-police climate we are in, I imagine it would be easier to ignore a “shots fired” call than to rush headlong into a situation where there is a likelihood that things could go awry. Frankly, I don’t know who would want to be on the police force right now, with children as young as 15 and 16 running around with powerful firearms that they aren’t afraid to use. No, thank you.

As the ex-wife of a Chicago police officer reminded me, police officers are human beings. They want to come home at the end of their shifts in one piece. I’m grateful that, despite the distrust and disrespect police officers encounter daily, many police officers are still putting on their uniforms and actively patrolling our streets.

It gives me hope that the police were able to quickly track down and arrest two of the men suspected of being involved in the fatal shooting of 7-year-old Jaslyn Adams while she sat with her father in the drive-thru lane of a McDonald’s on the West Side. Marion Lewis, 18, and Demond Goudy, 21, are now behind bars, accused of murder. A third man, identified as Devontay Anderson, is still on the run.

The fact that police identified Jaslyn’s father as a “known gang member” didn’t stop the department from aggressively pursuing the case. Make no mistake, these are some dangerous guys. Goudy was out on bail, charged with four felonies, at the time of his arrest. Police had to engage in a car chase onto the Eisenhower Expressway and shoot Lewis after they say he tried to carjack a driver before they could bring him in to face the charges.

Meanwhile, police Supt. David Brown has been quietly taking care of business.

The city’s year-to-date homicide clearance rate right now is 58.45% compared to 51.88% year-to-date in 2019. Four years ago, the city’s murder clearance rate was just 29%.

The police department sends out daily alerts notifying the news media of people who were arrested and charged with serious crimes, including homicides.

Here’s a sampling:

  • May 13 — Male juvenile, 18, two felony counts of murder and one felony count of aggravated unlawful use of a weapon;
  • May 12 — Deandre Watson, 27, one felony count murder, first-degree;
  • May 11 — Anthony Moody, 55, one felony count murder, first-degree;
  • May 11 — Deangelo Watson, 20, one felony count murder, first-degree.

Despite all of the challenges, the Chicago Police Department seems to be upping its game when it comes to getting murderers off our streets.

They have accomplished this goal while facing the perils of foot pursuits and car chases involving some who aren’t about to go peacefully. On Thursday, the Chicago Sun-Times reported that 66 percent of Chicago police car chases in 2019 ended in crashes. Eight of those crashes were fatal.

The troubling stats, leaked in a trove of hacked City Hall emails, is sure to spark calls for greater oversight and policy changes. But just as we insist that the city hold rogue police officers accountable for their actions, we need to salute those who do the right thing.

While police officers are honored for acts of bravery at interdepartmental ceremonies, the public has a role to play. There’s nothing wrong with giving your beat cop a wave, a smile or a nod of appreciation when a patrol car cruises down your block.

These men and women have demanding jobs.

We shouldn’t be stingy with our compliments when it’s a job well done.