LETTERS: Detectives need thorough training to be effective

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An Aug. 29 Sun-Times editorial rightly criticized the low rate at which Chicago’s Police Department solves murders. While it acknowledges Chicago needs more detectives to keep up, nothing was said about the skill set that distinguishes competent detectives to start with.

SEND LETTERS TO: letters@suntimes.com. Please include your neighborhood or hometown and a phone number for verification purposes.

Simply promoting street cops to detective does not magically endow them with the abilities of Sherlock Holmes. Yet that’s apparently how it’s been done, whether based on seniority, clout or whatever. The title alone does not a good detective make. As examples, note Jon Burge; or the detectives who mishandled the David Koschman manslaughter case, caving to political pressures instead of following orthodox procedure.

The process begs for greater scrutiny. In its 2016 investigation, the Department of Justice criticized the sad state of police procedures, guidelines and training here, some of which have not been updated in 30 years. Might this include detective selection and training? Is favoritism over ability involved? That DOJ critique has not yet been made public.

The process is more opaque than is healthy for our city’s murder solution rate. Of course appoint enough detectives to match the workload. But unless objectivity and logic are foremost in the selection process, even improved training may not pay off, and the solution rate may remain dismal. If, as the editorial said, New York solved 80 percent of its murders while Chicago solved only 29 percent, first study the New York approach to speed improvement and close the gap.

Ted Z. Manuel. Hyde Park

What about the Trump sign?

In regard to disparaging Italo Balbo: President Donald Trump (I have a T-shirt that states ” … he is not my president”) is an avowed racist. No one is complaining about his Chicago hotel and condos being in our great city!

Frank Keating,  Cicero

Putting party over country

The reticence of the Republican Party to denounce the harmful rhetoric and ideology of Donald Trump is chilling and portends certain disaster. With few exceptions, Republican members of Congress are putting party over country at a time when the very ideals and values of this country are being tested in a way they never have before. In fact, what this administration stands for is no longer recognizable to many Americans and certainly not understood and honored around the world.

There is a decided lack of discernment and moral courage evident among the majority of current elected Republican officials. Only a handful of senators, including Jeff Flake, Bob Corker, Lisa Murkowski, Susan Collins, John McCain, Ben Sasse, and a handful of members of the House, motivated by conscience, have at various times challenged the president. Some high-ranking members of the military, likewise, have disagreed strongly with Donald Trump and, from corporate board rooms, business leaders have had the courage to send a clear message to the White House that this administration is on a dangerous path.

Before the damage inflicted by this presidency becomes irreversible, the party in power must take a stand. This is no time for apathy and indifference. We cannot be silent as our ideals are being jettisoned and the fabric of our country destroyed.

Madeleine Felix, Evanston

Trump’s true nature

Once again Donald Trump shows his true nature with another jaw dropping abuse of presidential power. Hiding behind the natural disaster of tropical storm Harvey, Trump issues a pardon to xenophobic, law-breaking sheriff before he is even sentenced. Trump compounds this folly by further referring to Sheriff Joe Arpaio as a national hero.

It appears that these are the kinds of people Trump feels are needed to “make America great again.” Trump, through his actieons and tweets has given the sign to every bigot, racist, homophobe and xenophobe to come out of hiding and wreak as much havoc as they choose.

And worse yet are the people like Jerry Falwell Jr. who defend Trump arguing that he is not a prejudicial person. How long our nation will put up with Trump embarrassing us in front of the rest of the world?

Daniel Pupo, Orland Park

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