A press release went out yesterday to announce that police chief Cathy Lanier would attend roll call at the 5th police district to thank officers for their hard work. These are the same officers who filed a grievance over the weekend complaining about the long hours imposed by Lanier’s resent doubling of patrols. Union leaders have complained that the increased patrols do little to combat crime, and take away resources from targeted missions. They saw yesterday’s roll call event as a “dog and pony show.”
I was curious what went into the event. According to an officer from the 5th District, who asked to remain anonymous, the typically quick roll call took two hours from prep to finish and required upward of 75 police to drop what they were doing to sit around and wait to serve as a backdrop for the chief. The crowd included two squads from the SWAT team who had to abandon preparations for a big sweep of warrants, officers pulled of regular patrols in the 1st and 5th districts, members of the strike force and the bomb team with their dogs.
One funny contradiction I’ve noticed in this whole thing: police say we need these increased patrols to combat a spike in crime. But when I asked whether the patrols were working, the police spokeswoman Traci Hughes told me violent crime had dropped by 3 percent. Also, when I asked where the money for the increased patrols came from, she said the overtime required “no additional resources.”