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Emanuel's police hiring plan gets mixed reviews

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Emanuel's police hiring plan gets mixed reviews

Mayoral candidate Rahm Emanuel’s plan would tap $25 million in TIF funds to hire 150 more cops.

AP/file

One Chicago mayoral candidate has a plan for putting more cops into Chicago’s toughest neighborhoods, but it’s getting mixed reviews.

Former White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel wants to hire 250 more cops using money from tax increment financing districts - or TIFs. The plan would take $25 million from the districts in order to deploy officers to the city’s highest-crime neighborhoods. In a TIF district, any increase in property tax revenue as a result of rising property values is fed back into the district to pay for economic development and infrastructure projects.

Emanuel’s campaign says crime-fighting is an economic development tool, as safer neighborhoods will attract more businesses.

But Stephen Friedman, who’s a TIF consultant in Chicago, says he doesn’t think the money should be used to pay for day-to-day city services.

“My mother told me to save five to 10 percent of my income every year and invest it,” Friedman, said. “So this is our development and investment pool of funds. That’s what TIF is for.”

And Friedman questions whether the revenue can legally be used to hire cops, since he said state law doesn’t allow for the revenue to go toward municipal operations.

Meanwhile, the head of the Chicago police union, Mark Donahue, said he likes the idea. Donahue said any help in closing the Chicago Police Department’s 1,000-officer shortage is welcome.

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