Emanuel, McCarthy put 150 more cops on street

June 16, 2011 1:17:48 PM PDT
Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Chicago Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy say more officers are heading to the streets of Chicago.

On Sunday, they announced at a news conference their plan to deploy 150 police officers, reassigning them from administrative and desk duties. The officers will go to districts throughout the city.

The deployment comes at a time when Emanuel and McCarthy have had to address recent robberies and assaults in the affluent and tourist rich Gold Coast area but the city's top cop says additional officers was always part of the plan.

"None of this is reactionary. Everything we're doing is very consistent with the message that we started out with which is its intelligent police and using the right strategies putting cops in the communities and holding them accountable," McCarthy said at Sunday's news conference, which took place at the Illinois Centennial Monument.

"Every part of the city -- Logan Square, Lincoln Square, the Mag Mile, Roseland Englewood where ever you live, I want you have a quality of live and have safety," Emanuel said at the news conference.

Additionally, Emanuel campaigned on a promise to put 1,000 more police officers on the streets of Chicago. This officer redeployment will happen within one week and will be permanent. Cops will be moved to 15 different police districts that encompass several neighborhoods including Logan Square, where just days ago, two girls were wounded after being caught in gang crossfire.

"We've had this little gang war going on over here and really, really need the presence and visibility of the police," said 35th Ward Alderman Rey Colon.

The 14th District on Chicago's Northwest Side will get at least 12 new beat officers. Police Commander Linda Flores says they'll be put to good use. "The parks are a very important place that I'm really concerned about, that we have enough coverage there, especially with the summer," she said.

Two weeks ago, 500 officers, originally assigned to the Mobile Strike Force and Targeted Response Unit, were shifted for only 90 days to the most crime-ridden neighborhoods on the South and West sides.

"I hope it does slow down, the efforts that the Mayor and the new superintendent are doing right now because that's what the community wants to see -- redeployment of police officers behind us," said 30th Ward Alderman Ariel Reboyras.

Larry Ligas of the Logan Square Concerned Citizens supports the new summer crime plan. He said, "One crime is too much."

Emanuel says he expects to have the newly assigned officers to their new assignments this week but some say they've already noticed more of a police presence along Michigan Avenue.

"I absolutely noticed more police out here and really happy about I'm glad the police are here keeping us safe," Jennifer Olson said.

"More cops means something happened over here in the downtown area, but I feel safe. If something is going to happen and more cops in the downtown area means we are safe and we can bring our families especially in summer," Adnan Farooq said.

Many downtown residents along Michigan Avenue say they'll welcome the extra police.

"I think all the officers coming in, it does make sense considering the fact that when it does get hotter, people start to come out that don't normally come to downtown and any kind of trouble can possible ensue," Keith Dean said.

In hearing about things and seeing some things, I felt concerned, and I'm happy to have more police. I'm a taxpayer, I'm happy to have my resources go for that," Judith Konen said.

The Chicago Faternal Order of Police has been critical of the redeployment plan, saying the city needs to hire more officers not just shuffle around the existing ones. A hiring slowdown has left the Chicago Police Department short-staffed on the street.

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