Top cop: Chicago won’t redraw beat maps anytime soon

February 22, 2011

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Weis had been talking up the idea for two years.

Chicago may not have enough cops in its highest-crime neighborhoods, but police Supt. Jody Weis says the city won’t redraw patrol maps anytime soon.

Realigning the city’s 285 beats would shift officers and cars to where they’re needed most, an idea popular with some aldermen on the city’s South and West sides. Weis himself had been talking it up for two years.

But aldermen in low-crime areas voiced fears that they would lose protection. And the Fraternal Order of Police said its contract constrained where the city could assign officers.

Now Weis is talking about a different approach. At a Chicago Police Board meeting last Thursday, the superintendent said the city would not redraw beat maps, at least for now. “We certainly don’t intend to do that until the wards have been redrawn,” Weis said, according to the meeting transcript.

What do political boundaries have to do with policing? WBEZ on Tuesday asked Weis spokeswoman Lt. Maureen Biggane, but she didn’t answer.

The police department, meanwhile, is sticking close to the status quo. In a written statement, Biggane said that includes sending mobile units to high-crime areas — an approach she calls less costly than realigning the beats.

“None of these methods entail realigning districts or beats,” Biggane wrote. “However, the process is continual and fluid. Additional data, including recent Census Bureau figures, will be taken into account as the process moves forward.”