Our grossly understaffed 19th district ran out of cops Saturday afternoon, entering its 11th known “RAP” of the year. “RAP” stands for “Radio Assignments Pending.” It’s a term used when police dispatchers are waiting for a unit—any unit—to become available to handle pending calls for help.
The complete lack of available officers in our district on Saturday left an Uptown “man with a gun” call sitting, unassigned for more than eight minutes:
3:29PM, Saturday, April 19
Dispatcher: All right. For the units in 19 no [broadcast to citywide police units] available. Getting a person with a gun at Sheridan and Wilson. Inside the McDonald’s. Says a male just threatened to shoot the complainant. Offender is currently walking in front of the McDonald’s. Male, black, blue jacket. Gun is inside his pants. And the complainant inside McDonald’s waiting for the police….
[4 minutes, 35 seconds of unrelated radio activity. Declaration of RAP.]
Dispatcher: Still pending in the 19th district…We got person with a gun at Sheridan and Wilson…Inside McDonald’s. Got a male, black, blue jacket. Says the gun’s inside his pants. Uh…he’s in front of McDonald’s now…we’re in a backlog in the 19th district.
[3 minutes, 30 seconds of unrelated radio activity]
Finally, more than 8 minutes after the incident was first announced, a sergeant and a patrol unit wrapped up another assignment and headed to McDonald’s. They were unable to find the alleged man with a gun.
The 19th district has lost 27% of its manpower since October 2011, according to Chicago Police Department records secured through a Freedom of Information Act request.