Wednesday, June 21, 2017

The Murder Of Alexis Stubbs: Two Cops Did Their Best. Did Chicago?

Two Chicago cops, short-handed and with calls for service stacking up, arrived at the scene of a 12-year-old girl’s murder within ten minutes of the first call for help, city records and dispatch archives show.

But the local police district was operating on a shoestring that night—six units sat idle due to lack of manpower—and now Chicago's left to wonder "what if."

It's impossible to know if things would have ended differently for Alexis Stubbs had the 19th District been properly staffed two Sundays ago. But having full police manpower would certainly make it a lot easier to look in the mirror, knowing that Chicago didn't let her down on the cheap.

Alexis Stubbs
Alexis was beaten and stabbed to death by her mother’s ex-boyfriend in an Uptown apartment just before 10 o'clock on June 11, police said.

31-year-old John Singleton, paroled in April after serving time for a 2014 domestic violence attack on the girl’s mother, is charged with Alexis’ murder.

The mother, Misty Stubbs, called 911 at 9:46 p.m. on June 11 to ask for police assistance in getting Singleton out of her apartment, according to dispatch records provided by Chicago’s Office of Emergency Management and Communications (OEMC) in response to a Freedom of Information Act request.

As she stepped outside and waited for officers to arrive, OEMC classified her call as a domestic disturbance, one of the department’s highest priority classifications.

But the call was not dispatched to officers because the 19th District was in Radio Assignment Pending (RAP) status, which means that there were not enough police units to handle incoming calls for service.

The district—operating on a summery Sunday evening with six of its patrol units down due to lack of manpower—had been in a RAP since 3:31 that afternoon, according to records secured by CWBChicago.
Alexis was killed in her mom's second-floor apartment in the 4600 block of North Beacon | Google
Three minutes after her first call for help, Misty called 911 again, records show. Singleton had armed himself with a knife, she said.

Noting that the situation was escalating, a dispatcher read the call out on the air in case there were resources available. But no one took the call, and it sat unassigned for nearly two more minutes.

Finally, at 9:52 p.m. a two-cop unit was able to respond. Within three minutes, one of the two officers broke onto the radio, breathless, calling for EMS and giving out a description of Singleton, who had just fled through the back door with a hammer.

RAP City

The 19th police district, which stretches from Fullerton to Lawrence and from the Chicago River to Lake Michigan, has fallen into RAP status 51 times so far this year, according to records maintained by CWBChicago. The vast majority of those manpower shortages have affected the evening shift from about 2 p.m. until 10 p.m.

By comparison, the district had reached just 23 RAPS at this point last year; 11 RAPS in 2015; and 21 RAPS in 2014.

“The backlogs are terrible,” one Chicago dispatcher told us. “[Shift] change time is absolutely horrible. I feel powerless with no resources.”

Up Is Down

But why is the 19th District is so short-staffed that six units need to sit idle on a June afternoon due to lack of manpower?

After all, local politicians are claiming that manpower in the district is “up.”

Even the media gets into the "up" game. Take this spin from DNAInfo writer Patty Wetli:
The Town Hall (19th) Police District, which serves most of North Center and Lincoln Square, has 50 more officers than it did a year ago and yet residents still feel vulnerable, 
That’s something. Those insecure North Siders with all of the "extra" cops. But it’s not the whole truth.

As of March, the latest month for records are available, the 19th District had 34 more officers on staff than it did a year earlier.

But that modest increase does not nearly make up for the bloodletting that occurred in the district before residents began to speak up.

Compared to 2011, police staffing in the district is down 18%.

Manpower is only “up” if you compare it to how low Mayor Rahm Emanuel and local aldermen allowed it to go.

It seems to be a constant theme for crime issues in Chicago. Up is down and down is up. Smoke and mirrors are preferred over straight talk and definitive action.

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  1. and how many units were sitting out in front of Rahm's house, guarding against neighbors bringing the Emmanuel family bags of tomatoes?

  2. Lets not forget the several officers that are assigned to mayors house, even when he's not home or on vacation, 24/7 is protected by officers assigned to 19th district on Cpd Lakeview's roster schedule. They don't come from an imaginary dignitary protection unit in the sky. Every single cop working in or around or behind the mayor's house 24 hours a day is one less officer driving to calls of 911 emergencies in 19 district. How can anyone rationalize this?

  3. How many officers are in the district of the highest crime area in chicago?

  4. So if the mayors house has 2 cops per shift that is 6 fewer cops patrolling 19D. Basically they should not count toward the total # of officers assigned to the 19th district. They don't respond to anything even if it is down the block if it doesn't involve the mayor. Also I suspect there are more than 2 officers assigned per shift as it is probably more like 4 per shift. Apparently more officers make the mayor safe but more officers won't make the rest of us safe. We can't even keep downtown area safe lately and that is his priority. Is this what they mean when they say you're up sh*ts creek without a paddle?!

    1. Two in the front. Two in the back. Two in a roving car. And a sergeant. 24/7/365.

    2. And an alderman gets a tactical team to retrieve her cellphone. I don't think these so called leaders have the sense to be embarrassed.

    3. They don't respond because they can't respond. It's maddened me ever since a young woman was mugged with bleach, mid-afternoon on a weekday, right around the block from the Emanuel abode. No one was even home at the house, but all those cops sat in their vehicles while a young woman was attacked. Of course, the perps were never caught. Absolutely inexcusable...

  5. Thanks for posting CWB. Please keep sharing the truth.

  6. The Cubs had a 1:20 game on June 11th. Do you think that contributed to the RAP that started at 3:31pm?

    I was wondering if CPD shifted officers on 6/11 to cover the Cubs game and if the 19th district is always more vulnerable around Cubs games because of shifting CPD coverage?

    1. There's no obvious connection that we see between Cubs games and backlogs.

  7. As a 019th district officer, it sure seems as if we've been in a RAP more than 51 times this year. Almost everyday for the past couple months, the day shift is in a RAP which carries over into the afternoon shift. Afternoons works their way out of it around 5:00-6:00pm and then they're back in a RAP around 9:00pm. Then the midnight crew slowly works their way out of it until the whole process begins again the next day. Supervisors have been taking jobs in order to help alleviate this problem a little. But that means that they aren't available to attend to their primary responsibilities of ensureing that work is completed properly.

    1. That is almost certainly the case. We only record RAPS that we learn of through a variety of methods. Also, we count RAPS that bridge shifts as a single occurrence rather than two. Stay safe.

    2. Yet all I see is keyboard warriors. CWB is giving you all ammunition to use to fight your aldermen and your mayor. No one is going to anyone of their offices in droves. No one is orgamizing anything or complaining to the media.

  8. Is it too much to ask the reporter or DNAInfo to verify the 50 number before printing it, or say something like, "the district's staffing levels, while improved over the past year, remain well below where they were in 2011."

  9. the family needs to sue the city for no police protection

  10. So what you're saying here is that we may have had more manpower on the streets if His Royal Rahmness maybe didn't piss away OUR tax dollars on street planters, bike lanes and a lot of other things instead of prioritizing? Hmmm...planters or police? Hmmm....

  11. Sounds like Chicago is having the same problem most other large cities are. Not enough police. It's horrible how our tax dollars are wasted rather than used to help us. There should be officers hired in place of the ones put to guard mayors & others homes. On the other hand there's probably not a lot of ppl wanting to apply to be cops due to the disrespect of so many in their communities, low pay & the dangers involved & who can blame them. Until the community stops shielding thugs & bashing cops nothing will change, it will only worsen.