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Mayor Daley Livid Over Teen Cop

By Marcus Gilmer in News on Jan 28, 2009 4:50PM

2009_01_28_teencop.jpg As the legend of Vincent Richardson, the teen arrested this weekend for impersonating a police officer, continues to grow, Mayor Daley's blood pressure continues to skyrocket. Said Hizzoner:

The Chicago Police Department is seriously looking into how an individual at such an age, with a phony badge and a phony uniform - they thought it was Halloween - could come in without a gun and be assigned a locker and be assigned to a car and be out in the street for five hours with another patrol officer.
We're wondering that ourselves. And the Sun-Times story on the matter began with the phrase, "It looks like heads will roll." Our pal Steve Rhodes responded to Daley's threats best: "Apparently in Chicago you can torture suspects by attaching electrodes to men's testicles and keep your job, but if you accidentally send a 14-year-old out on patrol you're history." And Second City Cop does a nice job of breaking down answers to the Mayor's questions.

The desk sergeant? He's on the street because we're so short handed in the districts. How about promoting a few hundred so we can catch up? Oh wait, you can't promote because we're short 3,000 cops from what we had on the street 8 years ago.

But something that keeps getting overlooked here, and it drives us crazy to no end, is Richardson himself. We're not ready to crown him a folk hero quite yet, but it's possible this could be the straw that breaks the camel's police superintendent's back. Jody Weis has been under fire since his appointment and he's done nothing to help himself. The Shootout In The Loop; a rising murder rate; an insistence to buy new cars instead of new officers. Has Daley's patience with his hand-picked savior run out after this? You can only toss so many subordinates under the bus, Jody.

And what of Richardson's motives? His mother said he, "pulled the stunt because he was bored." While that may be true, according to today's S-T story, "One source said he was told the teenager 'coded a couple of assignments,' meaning he used police codes to let a dispatcher know how he and his 'partner' were handling particular calls." Bored or not, the kid knew what he was doing. And, as we explored yesterday, Vincent has a history of impersonating a cop, but it all seems to stem from simply wanting to be a cop. We don't condone his actions (as they were illegal and all) but it's the underlying desire here which gives us pause. We can't reiterate enough how refreshing it is to hear about a teen that wants to serve and help, especially one in an urban environment. Again, we're not ready to pen folk songs in this kid's defense just yet, but we know there's more to this story, more to Vincent's motives. It's whether or not his parents/guardians and anyone else is willing to explore it.

Image of Richardson taken from surveillance footage following this weekend's arrest, via the Sun-Times