Rahm Emanuel shifting 114 more police officers to beat duty
By FRAN SPIELMAN City Hall Reporter email@example.com September 14, 2011 9:21AM
Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Chicago Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy announced the redeployment of 114 police officers to districts throughout the city as part of the Administration's ongoing effort to strengthen the safety of Chicago's neighborhoods during news conference at Broadway Armory, 5917 N. Broadway, Wednesday, September 14, 2011. | John H. White~Chicago Sun-Times.
Updated: November 10, 2011 9:55AM
Mayor Rahm Emanuel says he is inching closer to delivering on his campaign promise to put 1,000 more Chicago Police officers on the street — even if it means re-shuffling the same deck of cards.
Starting Thursday, 114 police officers will be redeployed to beat patrols and evenly distributed among the city’s 25 police districts. Fifty-nine of those officers will come from specialized units that already worked the streets but not specific beats. The remaining 55 currently hold administrative positions within the Bureau of Patrol.
That brings to 881 the number of officers returned to beat patrol since Emanuel took office.
“It’s called efficient management. . . . We’re finding better ways to manage our resources to the tune of almost 900 officers now being deployed into districts,” McCarthy told a news conference at the Broadway Armory.
Emanuel added, “If we hadn’t done this, we’d be talking about more resources rather than smarter use of the resources you have.”
But Fraternal Order of Police President Mike Shields still says police need more resources — and accuses the mayor of using a shell game to deliver on his campaign promise.
Shields noted that 559 of the 881 officers the mayor has returned to beat patrol have been reshuffled from the same deck of cards. They come from specialized units.
“No matter what Supt. McCarthy tries to do to curb crime, he needs more officers to be hired — not just shuffled,” Shields said.
“Do the math. There’s 322 retirements year to date and, in about 60 days, there’s gonna be 500 retirements,” Shields said. “We have a net negative of officers on the street as compared to the beginning of this year. And let’s not forget we’re down 350 detectives. That’s a lot of unsolved crimes.”
Now that Emanuel has ordered McCarthy to cut at least $190 million from the Police Department’s $1.3 billion-a-year budget, new hiring is out of the question. In fact, City Hall is almost certain to eliminate the department’s 1,400 vacancies.
That’s apparently why McCarthy is still talking about better managing the police resources he already has.
“We’re close to finding as many as we can within . . . clerical positions, positions within patrol. [But] we haven’t even looked at other parts of the department actively engaged in crime work,” the superintendent said.
“What is the size of our narcotics unit? Why is it that size and what are the results? What is the size of our gang unit? What is it that they’re doing and what are the results? All of these things are incredibly important.”
McCarthy then pointed to a sharp reduction in crime over the last six weeks as evidence that his strategy of giving district commanders the resources they need — while holding them accountable through the Compstat program he pioneered in New York City and then brought to Chicago — is starting to take hold.
Pointing to the brutal beating of a 14-year-old boy who was walking home from his girlfriend’s house on the Near Northwest Side on Tuesday night, McCarthy said, “It’s hard to celebrate when you have an unacceptable level of violence. But this shows traction. We’re not celebrating. . . . We’re not declaring victory. This is not a sprint. It’s a marathon.”
The latest round of redeployments were ordered after 4.6 million crime incident reports dating back over a decade were made available on the Internet. The reports will be updated daily as part of Emanuel’s drive to empower everyday Chicagoans and shine the light on city government, he said.