How shorthanded are Chicago’s local police districts?
Last week, it took a dispatcher 20 minutes to find an available officer when a Loop bank worker called 911 to report that the man who recently robbed their branch was standing outside.
The wanted man was gone when police eventually arrived. But he didn’t go far — he was up the street, robbing a different bank.
It’s an incredible story – police needing 40 minutes to arrive at the scene of a wanted bank robber — that demonstrates just how badly depleted the city’s police districts have become.
The Central (1st) Police District, which includes the Loop, South Loop, and Grant and Millennium Parks, is staffed by just 246 cops this month, according to the Chicago Office of the Inspector General. That’s down from 313 cops during the same month last year and 330 cops in June 2020.
Around 9:56 a.m. last Thursday, an employee of Citibank, 222 West Adams, called 911 and reported that the man who robbed their branch on June 8 was standing outside a nearby Walgreens. The bank worker described the man: Black, wearing a blue baseball hat, a blue suit, carrying a black suitcase, and wearing white and blue Nike shoes.
“Anybody nearby to take a ride?” a police dispatcher asked, garnering no response.
Two minutes later, the dispatcher again asked for any available units near Adams and Wells.
“He’s the same guy that robbed Citibank,” she reminded officers. Again, no CPD units were available.
Five minutes later: “And, once again, we’re still looking for a unit in the area of 222 west on Adams,” the dispatcher said. She described the man again. “Robbed Citibank and standing in front of Walgreens.”
There were no takers.
Finally, at 10:16 a.m., the dispatcher assigned the call to a squad car.
And, at 10:44 a.m., the responding officer radioed a “flash” message and noted that the Citibank worker last saw the bank robber an hour earlier — you know, when they called 911 about him.
Just six minutes after the flash message, Chicago police received a silent hold-up alarm from Amalgamated Bank, 30 North LaSalle. That’s about 4 blocks from the Citibank.
According to the FBI, these pictures show the man who robbed Amalgamated Bank one hour after the Citibank employee reported that a bank robber wearing a blue baseball hat with a blue suit and blue and white Nike shoes was outside their branch carrying a black suitcase:
You may notice that he strongly resembles the man who robbed the Citibank on June 8:
The FBI yesterday announced that they’re offering a $1,000 reward for information that leads directly to the man’s arrest and conviction. Tips can be shared with the FBI’s Chicago Field Office at 312-421-6700.
Just hope you get a more timely response than Citibank did.