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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 country. 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- tained. -30- FOR MORE INFORMATION: EMERGENCY RESPONSE & RESEARCH INSTITUTE Clark Staten, Executive Director 5656 N. Moody, Chicago,IL. 60646 Voice: 312-631-3467 Data:(Emergency BBS - Online 24 Hours a day) 312-631-3467 Mobile: 312-720-8970 FAX: By Voice request/312-631-3467


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