Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s financial team pledged to aldermen the city will fill current and future police vacancies—and hire hundreds of new officers.
The mayor announced he would hire 970 more cops—including officers, detectives, sergeants and lieutenants—to help temper historic levels of gun violence.
At a budget hearing Monday, Budget Director Alex Holt said the city will not only hire those additional officers, but will fill “current vacancies and any new vacancies resulting from attrition.”
“This will require much hard work, and we are committed to ensuring the police department has the resources they need to achieve this goal,” Holt said.
She said the department is in the process of filling 363 vacancies by January 2017 and estimated about 100 new recruits will enter the training academy each month for 11 months next year.
South Side Ald. Anthony Beale, 9th, said he thought that goal was aggressive.
“It’s going to be really difficult keeping up with retirement and everything unless we add more capacity to the actual training academy,” Beale said. “I don’t think we will get to the number we need to get in the time in which we need to get there.”
Ald. Anthony Napolitano, 41st, said those increases still won’t be enough.
“I’d like to see every dime going to public safety and see more boots on the streets,” Napolitano said.
Holt told aldermen the 2017 budget was built around the increase in officers.
She said there isn’t one dedicated source of revenue for the new hiring plan, but rather they are “funded in the same way we pay for our existing police officers,” with taxes, fines, fees and other revenues and savings.
The annual budget hearings continue over the next two weeks.
Lauren Chooljian covers city politics for WBEZ. Follow her @laurenchooljian.