FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 10-07-91 1400HRS. CDT
INCREASING VIOLENCE AGAINST EMERGENCY WORKERS
Chicago,IL. A rising wave of violence and murder continues to
overtake our nation's cities. In many urban areas, the murder
rate has increased to record levels. In the City of Chicago, for
example, a new monthly record was set in August for the number of
murders. Currently statistics reflect that, given the pattern of
past years, the City of Chicago will experience a record number
of murders for the entire year. Similar circumstances are being
documented throughout the urban areas of the United States. Some
would suggest that this violence may not be confined to the
"urban battlegrounds", and that it is spreading with the gangs
and drugs, to the suburbans and even more rural areas of this
Various reasons have been cited for this "insurrection on the
streets". Urbanologists and sociologists have suggested that
crime and drug abuse are caused by poverty, unemployment, a lack
of educational opportunity, discrimination, empowerment issues, a
dependance on welfare, and a multitude of other societal ills.
Psychologists have offered that the reason rests in "Escapism", a
lack of self-esteem, violence "conditioning" by television, a
need for self-gratification, and increasing desensitivity towards
others. Economists and banking officials have suggested that the
disorder is rooted in money and the tremendous amount of profit
that is derived from the drug trade, extortion, prostitution, and
other gang associated enterprises.
While this situation profoundly affects the citizens of these
communities, it more directly affects the emergency response
workers that are sworn to protect and serve the people. Police
Officers, Fire Fighters, and Paramedics are being beaten,
stabbed, and shot with alarming frequency. A Chicago firefighter
and brother of Chicago Bull's player Maurice Cheeks was found
senselessly shot, his car set on fire, during this past weekend.
More extensive details regarding this incident are being withheld
by the Chicago Police Department, pending further investigation.
A reward has been offered by the Cheeks' family for information
leading to the arrest of the perpetrator(s).
In a recent Chicago Sun-Times series on the violence, Chicago
Paramedics, Police, and Emergency Room staffs attested to the
levels of increasing danger "on the streets". Statements by
several Chicago paramedics and the Chicago Chapter Fraternal
Order of Police indicate that there is a renewed interest in
obtaining new soft body armor, getting better weapons, and
adopting additional security measures for emergency responders.
According to veteran Chicago emergency response personnel, the
number of aggravated assaults and batteries against paramedics
and police has reportedly increased disproportionately to the
level of that perpetrated against citizens. While some dismiss
this as "being part of the job", others appear genuinely fearful
of the results of such a trend.
"The foot soldiers in the `War on Drugs' are each city's police,
firefighters and paramedics", according to Clark Staten of
Chicago's Emergency Response and Research Institute. "If you
could compare it to Operation Desert Storm, they are the 82nd
Airborne and Marines....all rolled into one", the veteran para-
medic and former police officer continued. "Every day they are
expected to lead the assault on urban decay and mayhem, often
without the necessary resources needed to accomplish the task at
hand", he added.
"They are the ones that must continually confront the pimps, drug
pushers and abusers, and subdue those that commit crimes to
further criminal aims or support a drug habit"; Staten said.
"The police are often required to place their lives in jeopardy
while attempting to pursue and arrest those preying on society,
and the firefighters and paramedics are imperilled by responding
to unsecured surroundings and circumstances to `pick up the
pieces'", Staten added. "Either predicament places the emergency
responder at great risk and increases the likelihood that he or
she will suffer injury or even death at the hands of someone who
cares little about human life", Staten concluded.
Police management experts have advocated that additional legisla-
tion be passed to give police greater powers of search, seizure,
and arrest. The City of Chicago and the State of Illinois have
considered laws which will would enable police to "stop and
frisk" suspicious individuals, prevent loitering on street
corners, preemptively confiscate possessions of drug dealers, and
cause landlords to evict lawbreakers. Other emergency mangement
and logistics analysts have reportedly established that addition-
al police and paramedic resources are needed in many towns and
cities to stem the flow of blood and drugs that seems so preva-
lent. Still others have recommended a more "draconian" approach
to drug enforcement by issuing automatic weapons to emergency
responders, and mandating lengthy jail sentences `at hard labor'
for convictions of gang or drug offenses.
Each of these ideas and suggestions would appear to be a reaction
to the seemingly insolvable problems of a segment of the society
that has gone "mad". Is it possible that this problem is just an
aberration in America's quest to be the best, biggest, and
brightest? Could it be that the drug abuse and crime problems
are rooted in the "Dark Side of the Force" that drives business
in the United States and the world? Or, does it go even deeper
into man's nature and dominance of his fellow man? Undoubtedly,
the answer rests in each of these questions and ultimately in
society's action or inaction in resolving the underlying issues
that have been previously presented as parts of the problem.
In the mean time, it appears to be the responsibility of Amer-
ica's "cop on the beat", " fearless firefighter", and "life
saving paramedic", to continue to mend the damaged fabric of
society as best they can, until workable solutions can be at-
FOR MORE INFORMATION:
EMERGENCY RESPONSE & RESEARCH INSTITUTE
Clark Staten, Executive Director
5656 N. Moody, Chicago,IL. 60646
Data:(Emergency BBS - Online 24 Hours a day) 312-631-3467
FAX: By Voice request/312-631-3467