Mayor says he ‘solved’ problem of realigning police beats
BY FRAN SPIELMAN City Hall Reporter firstname.lastname@example.org October 12, 2011 6:58PM
Updated: May 9, 2012 9:53AM
Mayor Rahm Emanuel on Wednesday touted his plan to consolidate police stations as a way to free more officers for street duty — and continue to achieve the equivalent of a beat realignment without the political controversy.
By the mayor’s count, he has already put 1,019 more police officers on district beats by disbanding specialized units, redeploying officers currently assigned to desk duty, closing police lockups in four districts and by hiring civilian detention aides to replace sworn officers.
The controversial decision to close three police stations in 2012 — Wood, Belmont and Prairie — and consolidate police and detective areas from five to three will free scores of additional officers for street duty, the mayor said.
The consolidated districts will get more officers, the mayor said, without specifying how many.
“For 20 years, we as a city have been divided by how to put more police on the street based on North and South and based on race. We don’t have that debate now. We solved that debate,” Emanuel said.
“Every district got more police. But, 75 percent of all the crime occurs in eight districts. They got the most resources. And we did it without the fanfare and the argument of ripping this city apart.”
Emanuel campaigned on a promise to solve a severe manpower shortage by adding 1,000 more officers not now on the street, 250 of them newly-hired with funds generated by tax-increment-financing (TIF) districts.
He has been under fire for shuffling the deck with 600 officers who were already on the street.
“Not everybody is gonna agree with how I did it. Not everybody is gonna agree about how we count it. But, I can tell you this: we have gone through that police department line by line and we’re not done,” the mayor said Wednesday.
“We have found 1,019 officers who were doing other functions ... and moved ‘em to the neighborhoods and did the most where the crime is most impacted. And we did it without ripping the city apart.”