Posts tagged “Garry McCarthy

A Tale of One City

Cities become dysfunctional for a reason.  In some places, such as Chicago, the governing class has historically relied on political patronage; whereby, members of a specific ethnic or racial background are brought into the Democrat Party infrastructure with the belief that they can control the violence of competing criminal enterprises within their districts.

In Chicago, the Daley machine is dead. Just over a decade ago, President Bush, at the advice of a former U.S. Senator from Illinois, appointed Patrick Fitzgerald—an outsider from New York—as the U.S. Attorney for Northern Illinois.  Under Fitzgerald’s watch, federal officials indicated several high profile targets, including former Illinois Governors George Ryan and Rod Blagojevich, Chicago City Clerk James Laski, as well as a number of top aides to former Mayor Richard M. Daley.

Fitzgerald and federal law enforcement also targeted the hierarchy of Chicago’s street gangs, like the the New Breed—an off-shoot of the Black Disciples—and the Latin Kings, who employed police officers to shake down rivals.

On the other hand, the Daley machine picked its own poison when it appointed Jody Weis as Chicago’s Police Superintendent in 2008. A former FBI agent, Weis chose to focus his wrath on his own officers while treating the criminal element with kid gloves.

Consequently, with top gang members occupying federal prison cells and Weis’ unwillingness to assert control, a power vacuum ensued, resulting in a number of smaller gangs going to war over lucrative drug turf. Last year, the homicide clearance rate in Chicago was just 33 percent, one of the lowest of any American city with a population over 500,000.

The following article by National Review’s Kevin Williamson gives readers a behind the scenes look at Chicago’s gangster subculture and why it is tearing that city apart.

Now, Chicago has turned to a new top-cop, Garry McCarthy, a former Newark, New Jersey, police chief and a former member of the NYPD command staff.  However, instead using a decentralized approach to crackdown on street gangs, McCarthy seems intent of carrying water for gun control advocates.

Dysfunction breeds dysfunction, which, in urban areas, often stems from an overdose of political correctness.


Steve Spingola is an author and retired Milwaukee Police Department homicide detective. His latest book, Best of the Spingola Files, Vol. II: Here’s Looking at You, is available at

If your group is in need of a fascinating guest speaker, consider the Spingola Files’ Psychology of Homicide presentation.  For more information, please visit:

© Steven Spingola, Wales, WI, 2013

As G-8 Summit Nears, Chicago is on the Hot Seat

From May 19-21, Chicago will host the G-8 economic summit where leaders from Japan, Italy, France, Germany, the United Kingdom, Canada, Russia and the United States will meet in an attempt to iron out differences. Even though this affair will take place just over 100 miles to the southeast of Spingola Files HQ, many residents of southeastern Wisconsin are oblivious to the costs and dangers associated with the event’s security issues. 

During the 2010 G-20 Summit in Toronto, over 10,000 Canadian law enforcement officers and over 1,000 private security guards oversaw the event.[1] Chicago law enforcement administrators plan on getting by with just 5,000 sworn officers. Chicago police have ordered 3,057 face shields for its members and another 850 sworn personnel from other Illinois law enforcement agencies will provide a physical presence.[2]  With the Cook County jail already housing 9,250 prisoners, the facility is at 97 percent capacity, which means city officials will likely establish some type of temporary holding facility.

In 2010, the Toronto G-20’s security totaled $1 billion[3] , as the Canadian Integrated Security force arrested over 900 people.[4]

With Chicago being centrally located in the Midwest, some expect protestors to swarm the Windy City.  Newly elected Mayor Rahm Emanuel might find the number of anti-establishment groups at the G-8 eerily reminiscent of the 1968 Democratic National Convention, where a group of radicals and anti-war organizers clashed in the streets with the Chicago police, whose command staff received their marching orders from the legendary leader of the Democrat Party machine, Mayor Richard Daley.

Much has changed since 1968.  Chicago’s relatively new police superintendent, Garry McCarthy, is a former member of the New York City Police Department’s (NYPD) command staff, and has experience dealing with large protests. However, the NYPD has twice the number of sworn personnel as the Chicago PD, which means McCarthy must rely on reinforcements from suburban police departments and the Illinois State Police.  A proposed ordinance would also allow the City of Chicago to request assistance from out-of-state agencies, which means members of the Milwaukee Police Department’s Major Incident Response Team (MIRT) might be asked to lend a helping hand.

Left-wing organizations have already scheduled a variety of bizarre events, such as a May 15 national assembly to put the ‘war makers’ on trial.  Some of the groups that plan to demonstrate include the U.S. Palestinian Community Network, the Iraq Veterans Against the War, the University of Illinois-Chicago branch of the Students for a Democratic Society, the Committee to Stop FBI Repression, and the Episcopalian Peace Fellowship.[5]

By some estimates, over 10,000 officials, including politicians, generals and diplomats, from G-8 countries will likely attend. Moreover, since Chicago is President Obama’s hometown, the good money says the protestors might step things up a notch.

In addition, some leaders of Chicago’s political establishment are putting law enforcement on notice. Alderman Ricardo Munoz has introduced an anti-crackdown ordinance, which would prohibit government officials from shutting down electronic communications during the event.[6]

From a law enforcement perspective, the Chicago G-8 Summit is interesting affair, as thousands of anarchists will converge on a historically corrupt city, with an out-of-control gang problem, a new mayor facing international scrutiny, and a President looking for something to boost his sagging approval numbers. 

No doubt, the Chicago PD’s intelligence fusion center is working overtime to prevent a Seattle-like debacle.  


As of 9 p.m. CDT, The Cozen Protocol, a crime novel based on events surrounding the Milwaukee Police Department, shot-up to #5 on’s list of criminal procedure books.

A few months ago, I discussed the book with WUWM’s Stephanie Lecci.  To hear the interview, click the following link.


Steve Spingola is an author and retired Milwaukee Police Department homicide detective. His new book, Best of the Spingola Files, is now available at

If your group is in need of a fascinating guest speaker, consider the Spingola Files Psychology of Homicide presentation.  For more information, visit

© Steven Spingola, Wales, WI, 2012

[1] Currie, Mary Beth. “Canada: Toronto G-8 and G-20 Summits—Employer Planning Issues.” May 6, 2010.  2 March 2012.

[2] Speilman, F, Main, F. & Donovan, L. “Case Closed? Courtrooms maybe Shut for NATO, G-9 Summits.” February 23, 2012. 2 March 2012.

[3] Delacourt, S. “G-20 Security Tab: What Else Could $1 Billion Buy.” May 28, 2010.  2 March 2012.–what-can-1-billion-buy?bn=1

[4] Young, J. “G8/G20 Leaves Canada with Big Hangover.” July 2, 2010. 2 March 2012.

[5] “Chicago: Protests Called for NATO and G8 Summits.” June 26, 2011.  2 March 2012.

[6] Babwin, D. “Anti-Crackdown Ordinance? Alderman Munoz Wants NATO, G-8 Protestors to Have Wireless Access.” February 15, 2012.  2 March 2012.

Common Sense Policing and Newark

In many of our nation’s cities, homicides rates are falling.  Some attribute the decrease in the murder rate to policing strategies; others cite demographic changes and/or improved trauma care.

In an amazing turn of events, Newark, New Jersey, recently experienced a homicide free month — the city’s first since 1966.  For decades, Newark’s reputation as playground for the criminal element undermined any serious efforts at re-gentrification. 

Visitors to Newark note that hotels and other amenities are contained within the security of airport’s fence.  “For the most part,” one traveler recently explained, “people don’t leave the airport at Newark unless they visit the city [New York].”

But Newark isn’t alone.  In 2009, Washington, D.C., once known as the District of Death, saw a 25 percent decrease in homicides.  Milwaukee recorded 72 homicides in 2009, down over 57 percent from 1991. 

Glenn Frankovis is a retired Milwaukee Police Department captain with a history of implementing policing strategies that reduce violent crime rates.  At the end of 2002, his first full year as the commander at District Three, homicides decreased over 48 percent.  “Violent crime is committed primarily by thugs,” Frankovis notes. “You see, it’s kind of hard for thugs to do their dirty work if they are in jail.”

Frankovis notes that political leaders in Newark turned things around when they brought in Police Director Garry McCarthy, a “transplant” from New York City. Newark now employs a “Broken Windows Theory/Quality of Life Policy,” similar to the strategy Frankovis used to drive down crime in Milwaukee’s troubled Metcalfe Park neighborhood. 

As is the case in Newark, Frankovis is a believer in decentralized policing; whereby, district commanders are afforded the resources to form a “strike force” of officers “capable of using neighborhood intelligence” to “arrest the drug dealers/users and others intimidating the good people” in various hotspots.  Given the latitude and the resources required to get the job done, the chief-of-police then holds these commanders’ feet-to-the-fire.

Demographic trends also play a large role in crime reduction.  Criminologists often claim that men between the ages of 16 to 24 are the core group of violent criminal offenders.  The number of individuals in this demographic is declining.  On April 6, the U.S. Center for Disease Control reported that, in 2008, the U.S. birthrate declined two percent.  Moreover, the birth rate among teenaged mothers — whose offspring make-up a disproportionate number of offenders — also decreased two percent.

The good news on the crime front is that efficient and effective policing strategies, coupled with a decrease in teen birth rates, will probably make our nation’s streets safer for years to come.

After all, if Newark — a city once considered beyond hope — can reduce its homicide rate, other cities can, too.


Steven Spingola is a retired Milwaukee Police Department homicide detective and the author of The Killer in Our Midst: the Case of Milwaukee’s North Side Strangler.

Copyright, Steven Spingola, Wales, WI, 2010