The Chicago Way, and Hero 911 Dispatcher Thornton: What Happens to Chicago if Lightfoot is Re-elected Mayor?

By John Kass

August 13, 2022

If Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot is re-elected, then Chicago—the city of violence and anarchy– is doomed, said Chicago “hero” 911 dispatcher Keith Thornton Jr. on the latest edition of The Chicago Way podcast.

I hope you listen. Just click on the link provided. He talks about the rise of violent crime; the frustration that police and other first responders feel because there aren’t enough cops to handle all the 911 calls. And he talks about Lightfoot.

“If you put this lady back in charge, all hell is going to truly break loose,” Thornton told Jeff Carlin and I on our podcast. “You think we’re in hell now? If we put her back in office, the city is doomed.”

And now Thornton has left his job. He couldn’t take it anymore in Chicago. He is now a dispatcher in another town. It wasn’t the work that got to him. He loves being a dispatcher. Instead, it was the political lies from City Hall on the crime issue.

“I’m looking day in day out at the media and the person who is supposed to be my boss, the mayor of the city, tells lie after lie after lie to the citizens that I also work for, and the biggest lie…over and over again we’re stating that crime is down. It isn’t down.”

 I’ve been saying for years that co-host Jeff Carlin, executive producer at WGN radio and the best producer around, is a master of sound. And he proves it at the outset of this episode.

 Jeff takes us back to a terrible night last year, when Chicago first became aware of Thornton’s grace under pressure, the night that Chicago Police Officer Ella French was murdered, and her partner Carlos Yanez Jr. was critically wounded, but survived.

“I got an officer down! 10-1! 10-1! Six-three and Bell! Officer down! Officer down! Shots fired at the police! Officer down!” Thornton says over the dispatch system, calmly calling for a perimeter to be set up, and a helicopter.

 “…Guys, I got my job. Do yours. Take care of my officers out there. Got two ambulances rolling,” he says.

And since then, City Hall—which has demonized the men and women of the police department–can’t hire enough police to handle 911 calls, and cops and dispatchers have begun to break under the strain and stress.

Though hundreds of thousands of 911 calls go unanswered, the mayor tries to distract the city, with talk of NASCAR races downtown, and domes on Soldier Field.

Sorry this mini column is so short, but I’m recovering from that surgery and typing (and thinking) through the pain meds is difficult. I’ll give you an update in a few days.

Listen to The Chicago Way podcast. And tell your friends and family to subscribe to

There is a heck of a lot of news. The political shock waves are still being felt from the FBI raid on the home of former President Donald Trump. Politicians and their mouthpieces are scrambling.

The November midterm elections are less than 100 days away.

And Chicago’s main event, the race for mayor, is here.

(Copyright 2022 John Kass)


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