CHICAGO -- With murders up, arrests down and officers writing fewer parking tickets, Chicago cops will soon have to measure up in performance evaluations for the first time since 2002, top department officials said Monday.
The department hopes to have a new evaluation system in place by the end of the year, said Beatrice Cuello, deputy superintendent of patrol. Officers, sergeants and watch commanders will be evaluated.
"We should be accountable to the citizens of Chicago," Cuello said.
The department is considering annual evaluations, said Ted O'Keefe, deputy superintendent of administrative services.
"The superintendent thinks a performance evaluation system is a key part of every organization to identify the people who are your top performers," O'Keefe said.
One district sergeant welcomed the move, saying, "Nobody is being graded on anything now. It's just 'go to work and do what you want.' Some people are not motivated to do anything."
Last month, Police Supt. Jody Weis told a City Council hearing that police officers are being less aggressive as violent crime rises because they're afraid of piling up citizen complaints. Weis took office in February vowing to clean up corruption.
But Cuello said she could not attribute this year's 14 percent decrease in arrests to an intentional slowdown by officers.
"Morale is not what the people are making it out to be," Cuello said. "There is an adjustment period in any organization."
Because cops are focusing on violent crime, arrests have slipped for less serious crime like disorderly conduct, trespassing and public drinking, Cuello said. Arrests for violent crimes do not seem to have fallen as much, she said.
Chicago cops have made about 120,000 arrests through Monday compared with about 140,000 for the same period of 2007.
Officers, meanwhile, have written about 84,000 fewer tickets than last year. If that pace continues, the department will end the year with about 1.49 million tickets, down 9 percent from the 1.63 million police-issued tickets last year.
At $75 per ticket, the 84,000 ticket falloff would cost the city $6.3 million. If the fines averaged $100 a ticket, the loss would be $8.4 million.
On Monday, the department released crime statistics for the first seven months of 2008. Violent crime was up 2.2 percent, even though it fell in 12 of the city's 25 police districts. Property crime was up 1.7 percent. Murder was up about 18 percent and robbery was up about 6 percent, the department said.
Criminal sexual assault, however, fell about 13 percent, police said.
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