Emanuel adds more police officers to the street

October 6, 2011

Michell Eloy

(Flickr/chicagopoliceofficer004)
Two Chicago police officers observe a crime scene.

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel said 138 police officers will be redeployed to a street beat by the end of this year, bringing the number of redeployed officers to more than 1000 since Emanuel took office.

The mayor announced his plan with Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy on Thursday as part of his goal to move more officers from administrative positions to the streets. He said about 100 of the street positions will be filled by detention center aids, while the rest will come from consolidating police lockups.

Emanuel said crime in the city is down 20 percent in the last nine weeks.

But police union spokesman Pat Camden said nine weeks is not enough time to gauge the redeployment’s success.

“It's difficult to encapsulate nine weeks and say it's down because of A, B or C,” said Camden. “You need a longer term to be able to look at the trend of crime that's going on."

The union has been critical of Emanuel’s plan to reshuffle the department rather than hire new officers.

Under the mayor’s plan, about 400 of the redeployed officers were moved to a district street beat from city-wide street units, including specialized units that dealt with gangs and weapons. Camden also said more than 500 officers will potentially retire by the end of this year; proof, he said, of the need for more police officers.

“We have more officers on the street. We have more beat cars answering three or four calls at a time,” said Camden. “We don’t have proactive police out there looking for gangs, guns and drugs that cause the problems.”