A Lack of Leadership is Devastating My Community
My community is being ravaged by violent crime and deadly drugs.
it's now ranked the most dangerous city in the country with a population between 100,000-200,000.
Statistically, it's more dangerous than nearby Chicago. It doesn't get any worse than that.
Unfortunately, it's hitting closer and closer to home.
My best friend and I stopped by a local bar and grill on Thanksgiving Eve to visit with some old friends.
It's become a tradition. It's the same place we used to meet in our younger days.
Apparently, we left just before another patron became the victim of an armed robbery in the parking lot.
The robbery turned out to be unsuccessful.
The intended victim fought back, resulting in the robber dropping his handgun in the parking lot as he fled.
As a result, my friend, who is a retired Illinois State Trooper, is considering arming himself.
The state recently approved concealed carry, but excluded carrying within establishments that serve alcohol.
So, it may not have been a benefit under those circumstances. A robber isn't going to wait while you reach for the weapon you've left in your car.
It's a difficult decision for him.
During his 30 years in law enforcement, he never once had to pull his weapon.
I refuse to arm myself, although I've been trained to handle a assortment of weapons.
I prefer to leave that up to the local police force, whom I still hold in high regard.
They have an increasingly difficult job to do. They're so busy responding to calls of shots fired that they no longer have time to routinely patrol our neighborhoods.
However, their leadership is becoming suspect.
Our newly appointed police chief has been mysteriously absent from the public eye.
He hasn't publicly addressed this issue for weeks, even though he said he accepted the appointment because he was ready for a challenge.
Well, he's got plenty of challenges, none of which have been met.
In fact, since being appointed, our community has gone from being ranked the fifth most dangerous to the most dangerous.
His first order of business was to silence radio traffic, making it impossible for scanners to pick up police calls.
His defense was the fact that criminals, as well as citizens, may track police activity.
While I don't dispute that fact, I believe the decision was largely due to the fact that residents were realizing that crime is no longer contained to the historically dangerous neighborhoods.
The entire city is under attack, which is not only increasing the exodus of current residents, but discouraging outsiders, including businesses, from moving into the community.
As a result, the local media has resorted to requesting the general public to alert them to unusual police activity.
Twitter has become the outlet for immediate reports. I can't foresee any issues arising from that, can you?
Meanwhile, armed robberies, home invasions, and gang warfare, continue to run rampant with virtually no reported arrests.
The local police report that they caught and released the three guys who they believe robbed my daughter and her boss at their place of business.
Both women were roughed up while being held at gunpoint last Father's Day morning.
They said the video was inconclusive because the subject's faces weren't clearly visible.
They were wearing" boonie" hats, which are often worn by the military and fisherman. They easily conceal their faces.
I guess it doesn't matter that both women identified the robbers from a lineup.
Ironically, four identical businesses have been robbed using the exact same method since their release.
Fortunately, no one has been hurt.
Unfortunately, the recently elected county sheriff hasn't been effective, either.
He stormed out of a recent meeting to finalize his upcoming budget. He was told he was not going to receive a promised increase to hire additional deputies, which, with the board's approval, had already been hired.
In addition to violent crime, heroin overdoses have become an epidemic.
And, surprisingly, its not just our youth who are suffering. The scourge has no age limit.
I found out yesterday that an old friend's 30-year-old son recently died from a heroin overdose. My son is 27.
Last summer, I attended the visitation for a childhood friend who also died from a heroin overdose. He was 55.
The obituary, as requested by the family, didn't state the cause of death.
I didn't know how my friend had died until his eldest brother whispered it in my ear as I paid my respects to the family at the visitation.
I was shocked.
The issue was raised and addressed by the local candidates for coroner and state's attorney during the recent election. However, the only weapon they could come up with to fight this losing battle was increased education.
Ironically, it has yet to become an issue in the upcoming races for the city council and mayor.
They all appear to be waiting for someone else to solve the problem.
The primary election will be held on February 28, 2017.
Between now and then, I intend to become vocal member of the community.
I want to hear how they expect to solve these issues. And, as some of you know, I'm not afraid to speak my mind.