City Council Police and Fire Committee chairman Alderman Beale talks Chicago policing

December 6, 2010

Produced by Eight Forty-Eight

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(WBEZ file/Kate Gardiner)
Chicago Police Superintendent Jody Weis.

Chicago Alderman Anthony Beale, chair of the Council’s Committee on Police and Fire, said Monday on "Eight Forty-Eight" that “resource reallocation” is coming “right after January” to the Chicago Police Department.

The 9th ward alderman told guest host Jason Marck that the police department will shift officers to higher crime areas from beats that have little or no crime. “Now, we don’t want to make these communities any less safe,” Beale said. “[But] when you have officers, all they’re doing all day is writing tickets… and you have certain communities where people are shooting and dying every single day, we have a responsibility to react to those people.” This reallocation of police officers currently happens every 30 years, but Beale said he would like to see it happen every year, because, he said, “crime shifts.”

But Beale admits that police data isn’t readily available. Despite requests from journalists and some aldermen, police officials have refused to release data about how officers are currently deployed, saying they don’t track deployment. Beale defended this policy: “We’re trying to stay ahead of crime… gangs, and drug dealers, and if you start giving all this information out, you’re basically giving information to the people who we’re trying to get off our streets.” Still, he said, the Committee on Police and Fire will hold hearings soon to understand the department’s re-deployment agenda.

Beale also said the city will hire 300-400 police officers next year, but he does not expect a significant net gain of officers, because a similar number are expected to retire.

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