CPD cuts security for city officials

July 8, 2011 8:31:13 PM PDT
The Chicago Police Department cuts back on security for city officials, including Alderman Ed Burke.

Police superintendent Garry McCarthy says the changes will save taxpayers more than $650,000.

Alderman Burke's security became an issue during the campaign for Chicago mayor.

McCarthy isn't giving details about Burke's security, but he says it is being reduced.

Politics and symbolism are very much involved in this decision. Many, including Mayor Emanuel, questioned Alderman Burke's need for so many officers in a time of severe budget deficits and cutbacks, and the reduction in his security is combined with sweeping changes in security for a number of other city officials.

Some believe officers provide vital security to high profile public officials who are at risk. Others see them as a perk of the job.

Either way, there are going to be fewer of them. Starting with the four to six officers assigned to city finance committee chair Alderman Ed Burke. It was those officers assigned to burke since the Council Wars era 28 years ago that sparked debate on the issue during the mayoral race.

"Ed Burke today has six police officers - that just can't continue," Emanuel said during the campaign.

A 1986 court order gives the mayor the legal right to reduce Burke's security. Friday night, he left the announcement to his police superintendent, who issued a statement saying: "After completing a review, it has been determined that the officials who have security paid for by the city require less or no protection. Most of the police officers will go back on the street."

The announcement includes changes for many others, including the mayor, whose security detail will be reduced. Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy's detail will also be reduced as will Treasurer Stephanie Neely's and Alderman Burke's. Security for Cook County State's Attorney Anita Alvarez is being eliminated as is that of the Chicago Housing Authority CEO.

Former Mayor Richard Daley also has a security detail. A police spokesperson says it's for a limited time and subject to review. State's Attorney Anita Alvarez had one city officer assigned, but the county provides other security for her.

Alderman Burke did not respond to requests for reaction Friday evening.


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