Noah Isackson’s March story Can Cameras Replace Cops? highlighted a disturbing trend: the sharp movement away from human intelligence and community-based policing. While technology has its place and certainly its prospects, it cannot and should not overtake the mix of officer acumen and community help in disrupting crime.

While CAPS is not perfect, it has been lauded across the country and copied by departments big and small for one simple reason—a proven track record. CAPS does not shy away from a hands-on, personal approach that plants the seeds of prevention and community support, essential elements to the city’s success in battling crime.

Loyola University criminologist Arthur Lurigio is right—“You need a big toolbox to be effective in a big, complicated city like Chicago,” he said—and Superintendent [Jody] Weis has made the department’s biggest sledgehammer a soft-faced mallet with his truncated investment in CAPS.

With the department’s slashing of a key program, limited police manpower, the perceived lack of leadership support, and the addition of cameras to squad cars, [the] Chicago [Police Department] is slowly becoming what many retired and veteran city police officers feared most: cops afraid to do anything.

Daniel P. Smith
Author, On The Job: Behind The Stars of the Chicago Police Department



“Ticket to Ride” [by Emily L. Hauser, Arena/Money, February] reminds me that the next time you get upset when filling your tank or are stuck in gridlock traffic, why not consider the public transportation alternative? CTA and Metra offer various options such as local and express buses, subways, and commuter rail services. In most cases, these transportation systems are funded with your tax dollars. All of these systems use less fuel and move far more people than conventional, single-occupancy vehicles. In many cases, your employer can offer transit checks which help subsidize a portion of the costs. Utilize your investments and reap the benefits. You’ll be supporting a cleaner environment and be less stressed upon arrival at your final destination.

Larry Penner
Great Neck, New York



Thank you for sharing Mike Royko’s love letters [Royko in Love, edited by David Royko, March]. I find myself thinking of a boy that had a crush on me in grade school. He came into my life in the third grade, his family having moved to Chicago from Iowa. He was of Cherokee descent, all dark hair and dark eyes, striking. He soon started sending me love notes. Being the supremely shy person I was, I could not tell him I liked him too. I haven’t seen him since I was 12, but 35 years later and 2,000 miles away, I still wonder about him. I found a couple of the love notes he gave me, so I can only imagine how much Mike Royko’s love letters meant to his beloved wife.

Sharon Freiberg
Belmont, California


The letter above wasn’t the only upwelling of nostalgia brought on by Royko in Love. On our Web site, comments ranged from reminiscences to eulogies (“He had a perfect mix of goodness and cynicism that made for a fundamentally decent person”). Royko’s air force roommate, Don Karaiskos, remembered their friendship and recounted seeing Royko writing those love letters, whose contents he never divulged. Another commenter, the self-named “Nostalgic,” even became wistful: “Are there any men like this left who are so willing to put their love in black and white?”