Our Pledge To You

Letters to the Editor

The harsh realities of policing

Chicago police investigate a scene where three people where wounded in a shooting Friday night in the 3400 block of West Ohio Street. | Tyler LaRiviere/Sun-Times

Chicago police investigate the scene of a West Side shooting in November. | Tyler LaRiviere/Sun-Times

I am a Chicago police officer, and I take issue with some of your opinions (in the editorial “High cost of police misconduct is financially breaking our city.“)

When you are in a traumatic situation and your adrenaline is at high levels, your perception and recollection can be altered by “tunnel vision,” a situation in which all your senses are focused on the immediate threat and other details may not be easily recalled and/or recalled correctly. I speak from experience, as I had a person threatening me with a knife at gunpoint, and did not realize that I told a nearby officer to use her Taser until I later saw the video. FBI agents get 72 hours to make a statement about an incident, while many other law enforcement agencies allow 48 hours. Your desire for an immediate statement after a life-and-death situation, that can then be used against the officer, is unfair and immoral.

Secondly, your argument that people who want to file a complaint shouldn’t be required to sign an affidavit for fear of retaliation is misguided at best. The accused officer knows who the accuser is, whether or not an affidavit is signed, as it is his or her right to defend themselves against said accuser — as is anyone’s right in this country. Simply asking someone to sign that they are making a true statement (even in their perception) is hardly an onerous burden, as opposed to going back to the days when every “bad guy” would automatically file a complaint after any arrest, in the hopes of getting the quick city cash settlement that is very often given.

Manny Irizarry, Norwood Park

SEND LETTERS TO: letters@suntimes.comPlease include your neighborhood or hometown and a phone number for verification purposes.

Schools provide neighborhood stability

We applaud the Sun-Times editorial “Why neighborhoods freak out when schools, stores and churches close” for perfectly articulating the stability that Chicago’s schools provide to the students they teach and the communities they serve.

As an independent, non-profit charitable organization, Big Shoulders Fund supports a network of 75 schools across Chicago that provide a values-based education in a safe and structured environment. We are committed to a holistic approach that includes vigorous academics, investing in programs that provide scholarship and enrichment, leadership development for teachers, and operational improvements for schools. We have more than doubled our investment from $12 million in 2012, and we are on track to invest $30 million this year, ensuring that our schools remain vibrant and rooted in community. These efforts have allowed for schools like St. Ethelreda, a Big Shoulders Fund network school in Auburn Gresham whose parish closed in 2007, to continue to thrive with growing enrollment trends and academic excellence. Denise Spells, EdD, the school’s principal, was even recognized by the National Catholic Educational Association  for her commitment to her school and her community.

Chicago families need a reason to stay in the city, and quality school networks like Big Shoulders Fund provide a major incentive. Thank you to the Editorial Board for calling attention to this important issue.

James J. O’Connor, John A. Canning Jr., Monsignor Ken Velo
Co-chairmen, Big Shoulders Fund

Josh Hale, president and CEO, Big Shoulders Fund

Trump’s “distressed” golf course

So the Trump tax bill contained a provision for Opportunity Zones, which is supposed to benefit only census tracts with poverty rates at 20 percent or above. Yet how am I not surprised that one of Trump’s golf courses and Jared Kushner’s real estate are located in these zones?  It turns out that “almost a fifth of the zones were certified by the Treasury Department through provisions that allowed wealthier zones to be designated,” according to an analysis by the Brookings Institution.

Now seaside resort communities get the tax breaks that were designated to help out distressed communities. This has to be stopped.  It is tax fraud, pure and simple.

Lee Knohl, Evanston