Why not have Chicago police union settle misconduct lawsuits?

Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 7 President John Catanzara outside the Chicago Police Department headquarters in October 2021.

Pat Nabong/Sun-Times

The Sun-Times editorial “Keep taxpayers from paying the price for bad behavior by city workers,” mentioned that City of Chicago taxpayers spent almost $528 billion during 2010-2020 for settlements related to police misconduct. That’s an average of almost $53 million per year. The editorial ended by saying they hope court-ordered police reforms under the federal consent decree will curb police misconduct. 

I had a thought. What if we proposed to the police union that they defend and settle these cases with union retirement funds and we, the taxpayers will fund that new responsibility with an annual retirement fund contribution of $25 to $30 million (adjusted annually). That is, if they paid out zero, they would still receive an annual agreed-upon amount from the city. That would achieve the following:

The city (taxpayers) would significantly reduce (from $53 million to $25-30 million) police misconduct penalties and be able to precisely budget this annual expense.

The union would be encouraged to “blow the whistle” on police behavior that would jeopardize retirement funds. Good cops would now be identified as those who “blow the whistle” on bad apples, versus those who practice a “code of silence.”

It would make it economically advantageous for the police to behave as reform intends, provide for a more professional police department and make for a better working environment for the vast majority of good cops out there.

Just a thought.  

Tom Franzak, Hoffman Estates

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Debunking “secret” declassification

There has been some speculation whether a government document can be secretly declassified. That this is impossible follows from the classification/declassification process.

Certain officials of the executive branch have the authority to order all copies of a government document marked as one of four classes of sensitivity. Once it is so marked, there are rules governing how any copy can be handled or shared. Some of these officials have the authority to order other marks removing the rules. 

Any such authority is ultimately delegated from the president, and a sitting president has the authority to order any of those marks applied. If he can’t do so secretly, it is not a question of authority, but the logical and physical impossibility of imperceptible markings. 

Frank Palmer, Edgewater

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Source:: Chicago Sun Times


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