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Retired Chicago Lieutenant Says Chief Needs to Bring Back Special Gang Units

February 25, 2016  | 

Last week, a 25-year-old California woman named Aaren O'Connor was shot in the head and killed while sitting in her car on Chicago's 21st Street in broad daylight. Then, this past weekend, 32 people were shot in Chicago, including a 3-year-old. Where is the outrage? When is enough going to be enough?

With a victim list growing by the day, it's time to realize we are in a war. Gangs are spreading fear and violence at will. The shootings are no longer a midnight-to-5-a.m. occurrence; they are happening in almost all of our neighborhoods and at any time. We have lost control.

To regain control, we have to get our police department back to a professional force that has the respect of the communities it serves. I am a retired Chicago Police Department lieutenant who was with the force 33 years, and I was one of the department's SWAT coordinators. I've also been a private consultant to several universities and campus police departments on emergency response and tactics. Here's my view.

Right now the gang shooters and their affiliates are having their way with little or no interference from law enforcement. Gone are the specialists who kept intelligence on all the leaders, emerging leaders and their turf; they knew the gang colors and the signs and who the main leaders were. Former police Superintendent Garry McCarthy broke up those units, saying he was putting a stop to “cowboying by specialized units.” Now those officers are out of the neighborhoods and back in the districts answering calls of dog bites and domestic issues.

McCarthy threw out the baby with the bathwater. With no one to gather intelligence and no one to make the gang affiliation connections, no one is safe, Chicago Business reports.

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