The venue for President Trump’s tour de force speech about American law enforcement and the problems it faces could not have been more fitting: Chicago, Illinois.
The setting was the 26th annual International Association of Chiefs of Police (IAPC) Conference — but Chicago’s own chief law enforcement officer, Superintendent Eddie Johnson, was nowhere to be seen. Citing the “the values of the people of Chicago,” he refused to be in the same room with the President of the United States.
Johnson was brought in by former Mayor Rahm Emanuel to replace former Superintendent Gerry McCarthy in the aftermath of the Laquan MacDonald scandal. Now, Johnson is stuck in a tight jam, with the future of his career in the hands of newly elected Mayor Lori Lightfoot, who is much further left than her predecessor.
It’s unclear what “values” Johnson was referring to when he explained his decision to boycott the president’s speech, but the rank and file officers in his department, represented by the Fraternal Order of Police, evidently don’t share those values. The police union issued a vote of no confidence in Johnson over his stunt.
To applause from senior law enforcement from around the country, President Trump tore into Johnson during his speech. He cited the city’s distressingly high homicide rate, which has made Chicago into a national embarrassment. In the final year of the Obama administration, as Chicago police shied away from effective policing tactics in one of the worst manifestations of the “Ferguson Effect,” there were 762 murders citywide — a 19-year high.
Since President Trump took office, his Justice Department has set a new nationwide tone by rolling back the post-Ferguson consent decrees that tied officers’ hands and stepping up efforts to deport dangerous criminals who are in the country illegally. As a result of these efforts, the American murder rate has fallen steadily. Chicago’s homicide rate has also decreased in each year of the Trump presidency, but the number is still unacceptably high, equivalent to a low-grade warzone.
The problem isn’t merely that Chicago’s government and police leadership are failing to wholeheartedly embrace the Trump administration’s successful law enforcement strategy. It’s that they have actively resisted it.
Even as the Justice Department stopped pursuing hand-tying consent decrees that prevented big city police departments from employing proven strategies, Chicago went about crafting its own. Rather than working with the federal government to deport illegal aliens who commit serious crimes, Chicago’s new mayor doubled down on “sanctuary” policies. And all this was after Mayor Emanuel spent millions of taxpayer dollars to sue the federal government in a bid to gain access to grant money intended exclusively for cities that cooperate with enforcement of immigration laws.
Those radical policies gave President Trump plenty of material to work with at the IACP Conference. He slammed Chicago for refusing to hold more than 1,100 illegal immigrant criminals, including some of the most serious offenders, long enough for federal authorities to begin deportation proceedings. Rather than simply letting federal law enforcement officers do their jobs, Chicago released those criminals back onto its own blood-stained streets.
The president didn’t hesitate to call out Chicago’s political leaders for putting the interests of illegal immigrants above those of their own citizens. “Frankly, those values to me are a disgrace,” he told the police chiefs, flipping Eddie Johnson’s excuse on its head.
The eternal values of those who protect and serve are to prevent crime and hold those who break the law accountable; shielding those who break immigration laws in addition to committing other crimes flies in the face of those values. The fact that a certain subset of lawbreakers happens to be politically valuable to big city Democrats doesn’t change those values.
The wildly positive reaction of the crowd to Trump’s speech showed that the president has a much firmer grasp of what “our values” really are than Eddie Johnson does. Chicago was the perfect setting for President Trump to highlight his commitment to supporting law enforcement, because it provides a vivid example of what happens when a city’s own leaders treat the police as adversaries rather than protectors.
As New York City’s 40th Police Commissioner, Bernard Kerik was in command of the NYPD on September 11, 2001, and responsible for the city’s response, rescue, recovery, and the investigative efforts of the most substantial terror attack in world history. His 35-year career has been recognized in more than 100 awards for meritorious and heroic service, including a presidential commendation for heroism by President Ronald Reagan, two Distinguished Service Awards from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, The Ellis Island Medal of Honor, and an appointment as Honorary Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. To read more of his reports — Click Here Now.
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