Please read the comments at the end,people are seeing the truth.Are one-person patrols too dangerous? RICHARD FRANCIS | Some question safety Chicago Police Officer Richard M. Francis was patrolling alone when he was shot to death -- renewing decades-old questions about the department's use of "one-man cars."Thirty-five years ago, after Officer Robert F. Wenzel was killed, the Fraternal Order of Police and others blasted the department for allowing officers to patrol alone, saying they needed a partner to back them up in dangerous situations.RELATED STORIESWoman charged, brother apologizes A final salute for a good cop Friends remember Francis as 'kindest person' Suspect in cop shooting was mentally ill Wenzel, 36, was shot in his squad car after he stopped a car for a traffic check Jan. 19, 1973. His killer, Richard Luckey, now 80, is still in prison.Hours after Wenzel was killed, then-Police Supt. James B. Conlisk Jr. announced that "as soon as possible," all patrol and traffic division cars would have two officers on after-dark shifts. The FOP had encouraged officers to refuse to work in one-man cars regardless of the time of day, calling them "rolling coffins."On Nov. 28, 1989, Supt. LeRoy Martin addressed the "confusion" about one-man cars:"There is a need for both one-officer and two-officer patrol car operations. [But] during the hours of darkness, district patrol units will normally have two officers assigned, unless operational requirements dictate otherwise."A sergeant said he frowns on one-man cars at night for safety reasons, but they're still allowed because of manpower shortages and because some officers prefer to work alone."I've never seen things this bad, manpower-wise, in a long time," a commander said.A spokeswoman for Police Supt. Jody Weis declined comment.Francis, 60, normally worked with a partner in a squadrol -- a police wagon -- but opted to work alone in a squad car on his early-morning shift Wednesday because his partner was off duty. He was killed while responding to a disturbance involving a CTA bus. A mentally ill woman disarmed Francis and shot him in the head, police said. A two-officer squad car was about a block away when Francis called for assistance. The arriving officers shot the woman, identified as Robin Johnson, 44, when she threatened them, police said. She remains in critical conditionhttp://www.suntimes.com/news/metro/1040182,CST-NWS-copcars04.article#
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