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Chicago Dispatcher Quits, Says ‘Mayor Lightfoot’s Ego’ Even Bigger Than City’s Crime Problem

Chicago, IL – The police dispatcher who was widely praised for his handling of the radio during a chaotic double shooting of Chicago police officers last year announced he was resigning because of the lack of support from city leaders.

“There is no transparency from the city hall here in Chicago and just a very negligent administration. It was just time. I’m tired of it,” now-former Chicago Emergency Dispatcher Keith Thornton, Jr. told FOX News.

Thornton said he was tired of the city’s “revolving door” bail policies that put criminals back out on the streets as soon as they were arrested.

He called Chicago Mayor Lori “Lightfoot’s ego” bigger than the crime level in Chicago and said the mayor lied about the city’s crime problem on television on a regular basis, FOX News reported.

“Constantly every week, every other day, they’re saying that the stats are down with violent crime and people shot and homicides,” Thornton said. “Listen, being on the other side of the radio as a dispatcher in Chicago, I’m like, this is nonsense.”

“I don’t stand for that. This is wrong,” he added.

The now-former dispatcher said Lightfoot is telling “lies” and crime has never been in bad in Chicago as it is now, FOX News reported.

“We’re supposed to tell these citizens a bunch of fluff that we have resources and police coming and there’s hours and hours before we can get an officer to many of the scenes throughout the city,” Thornton complained.

He said a lot of people working in emergency services in Chicago were leaving the city because of its criminal justice polices but they aren’t leaving their chosen career fields, FOX News reported.

“We love what we do. We love serving and protecting, and we’re leaving to go somewhere else and just pray for our city,” Thornton said.

The Chicago dispatcher said he was leaving for a leadership position in the same field in another jurisdiction but did not name the agency.

He also said that he planned to become more of an “advocate and get my voice out there” on the crime crisis facing the city now that’s he’s not working for it, FOX News reported.

Chicago police only made arrests in 12 percent of criminal cases in 2021.

Recent changes to policy that prevent officers from chasing suspects who flee on foot have caused violent crime to spike yet again.

It’s not the first time that Thornton has challenged city leadership about the problems in Chicago.

The emergency dispatcher posted a video to his personal Facebook page on Dec. 24, 2021 during which he accused Chicago Police Superintendent David Brown of having lied at a community meeting when he told residents of the 16th District that their district had plenty of officers., the Chicago Sun-Times reported.

The 16th District covers 33 square miles of the city and is much larger than any of the other 22 districts, the Chicago Sun-Times reported.

But Thornton said it didn’t have proportionally more officers than its much smaller counterparts.

In fact, he ranted that on Dec. 23, 2021 nine of the 14 police units in the 16th District were out of service, WLS reported.

“It’s outrageous and I’m not happy,” Thornton said. “The ones that are white are the ones that have beat cars. The ones that are scratched out, they’re down. So you have no police coming.”

He pointed to the long line of police vehicles parked at the 16th District as proof of the staffing shortage, WLS reported.

“When I’m getting text messages from officers telling me that they’re afraid for their safety because they’re working by themselves and then the beat next to them, to back them up, isn’t there because the cars are down, that’s a problem. That’s a safety concern,” the dispatcher explained in his video.

Thornton, who is a former Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) officer, cited statistics that showed there were no active patrol cars assigned to many beats in the district, and most that were available only had one officer, the Chicago Sun-Times reported.

“If you are a Chicagoan, living here or doing business here, even just visiting as a tourist here, your safety is compromised and in jeopardy,” he said.

Thornton gained a nationwide audience with an appearance on FOX News that same month during which he said the Chicago mayor was micromanaging police, firefighters, and dispatchers, and doing a terrible job at it.

“The blood, in my opinion, is on her hands,” the dispatcher said.

He said that during former President Donald Trump’s administration, Chicago was offered federal help to get the skyrocketing crime problem under control but that Lightfoot didn’t acknowledge or want it, FOX News reported.

“This is not a black problem, a white problem, a Democratic problem, a Republican problem, a Latino problem, this is an all-hands-on-deck problem and everyone within Chicago should be fueled up—and that’s why I’m taking a stand,” Thornton explained.

Written by
Sandy Malone

Managing Editor - Twitter/@SandyMalone_ - Prior to joining The Police Tribune, Sandy wrote the Politics.Net column for the Wall Street Journal and was managing editor of Campaigns & Elections magazine. More recently, she was an internationally-syndicated columnist for Conde Nast (BRIDES), The Huffington Post, and Monsters and Critics. Sandy is married to a retired police captain and former SWAT commander.

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Written by Sandy Malone

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