Police Scanner Sheds Light on Urban Cop Woes

Police Scanner Sheds Light on Urban Cop Woes

Police Scanner Sheds Light on Urban Cop Woes

My husband, a graphic artist, is a night owl, preferring to complete client work in the wee hours. While he works he listens to various streaming services, including a police scanner from Chicago. What he hears, especially on the weekends, is dismaying.

For example, last weekend he heard a myriad of radio calls between dispatchers and beat officers. They included domestic disturbances, public drunkenness, and road rage incidents, plus shootings about every half-hour.

There was a call about two females shot, the officer frantically calling for backup. Another officer was directing the dispatcher to “send more cars!” Yet another LEO sounded like he was at his wit’s end, demanding that dispatch “send me relief!” Moreover, dispatchers would stack the beat officers with three or four incidents at one time.

What he found the most disturbing was the sound of frustration and fatigue in the voices of the officers.

The shooting statistics from Chicago bear out these police scanner communications. In short, over the weekend the Windy City was once again a shooting gallery.

Then there was the July 4 mayhem at Navy Pier after the fireworks show had concluded. Someone threw firecrackers and people thought there was an active shooter. As a result, fourteen people were trampled as they ran from the pier. Moreover, this is a pier out into Lake Michigan — one way on, one way off.

On top of that, two teenage boys flashing gang signs stabbed each other, and a 30-year-old man was stabbed in the face — he said didn’t know how it happened.

Is there any wonder why police officers are at the ends of their ropes?

In fact, suicides among officers in Chicago are up. Just on Friday, a Cook County sheriff’s officer shot himself in the mouth, adding to the total of seven Chicago area police taking their own lives within 12 months. But they’re not alone — four New York City police officers have committed suicide over the past three weeks.

Meanwhile, the Chicago Police Department is scrambling to ward off these incidents through reforms.

But how do you reform the attitudes in neighborhoods that seem programmed to hate cops’s guts?

police scanner

Credit: Elvert Barnes/flickr/CC BY-SA 2.0.

For example, in June a Sacramento female police officer died in the line of duty while helping a woman during a domestic disturbance. While her fellow officers went to retrieve her, this happened:

The media don’t help either. In May, HuffPost reported on police officers, again in Sacramento, who put “a sack” over the head of a 12-year-old black boy. Why? Well, to hear HuffPost tell it, the cops are brutal racists beating up on a “little ass kid” who was merely pestering people at a Walgreen’s store to buy things for him. Oh, and “he’s a good kid. . . a little bitty kid,” according to his attorney.

However, that “good kid” spit on a police officer, which is an assault. As for that “sack” — it’s called a “spit mask.” Here’s what the Sacramento Police Department said in a news release:

“As the officers were in the area, they observed a subject running away from a security guard. The officers stopped to help the security guard. As the officers helped the security guard with detaining the subject, he spit in the face of an officer multiple times. Additional officers responded to the scene to assist. The officers put a spit mask on the subject to prevent him from spitting.”

And now, a group called the Plain View Project has made public Facebook posts which they find offensive that some Dallas cops have posted. Right now Internal Investigations of the DPD are investigating 25 officers for posting material that “was determined to be a potential violation” of department orders.

Now I have no idea what those posts said, and as such I won’t comment specifically on this incident. They may indeed be awful. I’d also wonder about the wisdom of any police officer posting sketchy comments on Facebook.

But I also question the motives of the Plain View Project:

“We present these posts and comments because we believe that they could undermine public trust and confidence in our police.”

In other words, let’s bust some cops for posting nasty comments on Facebook.

Are all police officers heroes and angels? No, certainly not — there are jerks in every profession. But I would venture to say the vast majority are hard-working stiffs who serve to help the people of their city. Right now, however, police in urban areas are fighting a battle where antagonists are coming at them from all sides. Now it seems like they can’t even get a well-earned cup of joe in peace.

Just take a weekend evening to stream a live police scanner, especially in a city like Chicago, and you’ll wonder why anyone would want to enter law enforcement.


Featured image: grendelkahn/flickr/cropped/CC BY-SA 2.0.

Written by

Kim is a pint-sized patriot who packs some big contradictions. She is a Baby Boomer who never became a hippie, an active Republican who first registered as a Democrat (okay, it was to help a sorority sister's father in his run for sheriff), and a devout Lutheran who practices yoga. Growing up in small-town Indiana, now living in the Kansas City metro, Kim is a conservative Midwestern gal whose heart is also in the Seattle area, where her eldest daughter, son-in-law, and grandson live. Kim is a working speech pathologist who left school system employment behind to subcontract to an agency, and has never looked back. She describes her conservatism as falling in the mold of Russell Kirk's Ten Conservative Principles. Don't know what they are? Google them!

  • GWB says:

    including a police scanner from Chicago
    Dude, that canNOT be helping your vibes. I get angry enough just reading the news. I can’t imagine how upset I would get listening to the scanner at night. *shudder*

    it’s called a “spit mask.”
    I’ve got another method of preventing spitting. It’s called a takedown, and when done with the arrestee’s face meeting the pavement at high velocity, then cuffing and leaving the arrestee face down on said pavement (weighted down if necessary), it prevents any further spitting issues 9+ times out of 10.

    In other words, let’s bust some cops for posting nasty comments on Facebook.
    If they’re truly “nasty” then I don’t have a problem with publicizing it. The problem is the level of “wokeness” of these sorts, and what sort of internet lynch mob they’ll conjure and over what lame “nastiness”.

    you’ll wonder why anyone would want to enter law enforcement
    Time to beat my dead horse some more. A lot of the problem comes from an attitude (merely learned in some people, indicative of bigger problems in others) that the cops are special, and our “last line” against evil/civilizational downfall.
    One problem with this is a sheep mentality. But another is how it separates the police from the community, as it leads to an abdication of OUR responsibility to keeping the peace/building an ordered society*. If it’s their job, then we just let whatever happens, happen. And then yell at the cops when ugliness erupts.
    But, if we, as free citizens, take responsibility for our neighborhoods, then the police don’t have to work as hard, are less likely to be attacked, and don’t feel endangered. And, interestingly, you’ll need a lot fewer of them – so a win for the anti-cop sorts, too.
    (And, yes, another angle is that, because we are free citizens – and therefore the police derive their authority from us – you should be polite when dealing with them. Don’t yell at them when they pull you over for driving too fast just because you’re late. Don’t get in their face when they’re properly trying to preserve peace and order. Don’t assume racism or even power-hunger when it might be that they’ve just had a really sh*tty shift and don’t want to cut you slack.)

    (* “Ordered society” here means one where there is general consensus on the rules of society and a general obedience to the law, not a regimented society. )

  • Anchovy says:

    This country would be far better off had we needed slaves that could solve quadratic equations instead of pick cotton.

  • kjon says:

    Until the people in the Chicago districts most injured by gun violence demand effective police protection they will get more of the same. They get the government they vote for. Let us hope that “Hands up don’t shoot”, becomes “Hands up or I will shoot”.

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