Updated 12/05/12 – 7:07 p.m.
CHICAGO (CBS) — Chicago Police Supt. Garry McCarthy is making more changes in his top command as he tries to get a handle on violence in the city, particularly on the South and West Sides.
He said scandals from years and even decades past–like the bartender beating by ex-cop Anthony Abbate–are still haunting the police force.
He explained what he’s done to clean up his department.
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“We’ve taken a year and a half now to change 19 of our 23 district commanders,” McCarthy said. “This was another shakeup to put the right people in those places. In a couple of cases, we rewarded those people have been out in the field.
“We have to get the right people in those places. Some of the districts were suffering and we had to get the right people there.”
Among the latest changes, McCarthy has moved one of the city’s foremost gang experts, Cmdr. Joseph Gorman, from the Gang Investigations Division to the Deering District — which includes the South Side neighborhoods of Bridgeport, Back of the Yards, and Fuller Park — and has been experiencing gang violence, according to the police department.
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That district–which is bordered by the Stevenson Expressway on the north, the Dan Ryan on the east, Garfield on the south and Kedzie on the west–has seen an alarming increase in shootings in the past 12 months, making it one of the most violent areas in the city.
Many residents simply stay home at night, CBS 2’s Chris Martinez reports.
Gorman is no stranger to the Deering District. He spent 20 months as Deering’s midnight shift sergeant in the late 1990s. So maybe it was appropriate that the overnight shift was the one he addressed first, telling those officers they can be “better than the best” and not to be afraid to assert their authority.
“Go out and be the police, and let’s take back our neighborhoods,” he told his officers Wednesday. “Because it’s our city. It’s not the gangbangers’ city. It’s our city.”
Gorman said he sees a number of officers he remembers from his first tour of duty at Deering. He said he sees talent in the ranks at Deering, a district in which murders are up by 50 percent from year-ago levels, and which led all 23 Chicago Police districts in shootings last month.
He said a dozen gang factions “raise his antennas,” none of which he will name, saying he doesn’t “want to give them credibility.” He said he has lots of intelligence about them from his previous assignment, and said he will not be afraid to call in federal law enforcement agencies to help with the clean-up.
In addition to Gorman’s move to the Deering District:
*Cmdr. Chris Kennedy moves from the 1st District to the Gang Investigations Division.
*Cmdr. John Graeber is transferred from the Mass Transit Unit to head the 1st District.
*Cmdr. David Jarmusz is bumped from the 9th District command to run the Mass Transit Unit.
*Cmdr. Melissa Staples goes from the 17th District to the 12th District on the Near West Side.
*Executive Officer/Capt. James Jones of the 5th District is promoted to Acting Commander of the 20th District on the North Side.
Appearing on the CBS 2 Morning News, McCarthy also commented on the recent shooting of a dog by a police officer that didn’t seem to be acting aggressively.
“We don’t have an obligation to get bit, we don’t have an obligation to get shot before we take action to protect ourselves,” he said. “It’s all about what’s in the mind of that officer at the time.
“At the end of the day, if the dog was on a leash and under control, it wouldn’t have happened.”
The incident led to a lawsuit against the department.