Emanuel asks CPD to cut $190M

August 31, 2011 2:53:47 PM PDT
Mayor Rahm Emanuel is asking Superintendent Garry McCarthy to cut the Chicago Police Department's budget by an estimated $190 million.

"So we're going make changes, but it's not going to affect the number of officers we have on the street," he said.

Emanuel had some explaining to do Wednesday morning after his police superintendent said the day before that he had been asked to make the massive cuts, in effect saying the department would not be able to fill 1,400 hundred vacancies on the force.

The mayor, who vowed during his campaign to add 1,000 patrol officers, repeated his strategy to make good on the promise.

" Making sure the people aren't doing clerical work who are trying to be police officers or filing papers, bringing them out of departments, including City Hall, and putting them in our communities," said Emanuel.

Since his inauguration, Emanuel has redeployed 750 officers from jobs at headquarters and various special details. Unlike mayors in other major cities he has not laid off police.

"We have already reduced the number of police officers by having 1,400 vacancies," said Ald. Willie Cochran, 20th Ward.

Cochran, a retired cop, said a smaller force is not necessarily less effective.

"I don't need officers who are not responsive to the community and who don't do their job and just come to get a paycheck," he said.

The mayor appeared Wednesday with Housing and Urban Development secretary Shaun Donovan to announce a federal grant to help redevelop the Woodlawn neighborhood where four teenagers were injured in a driveby shooting Tuesday night.

"They supposed to dispatch some extra officers, I think it's probably 12 or something. It's not doing anything," said Andre Smith, community activist.

Emanuel indicated the remaining 250 cops he'll put on the street already work in the police department that is no longer immune to budget cuts.

"There'll be no central office that's not part of reform. And you can't close a $637 million budget by putting up signs that say 'do not trespass,'" he said.

In a published report late Wednesday afternoon, the Fraternal Order of Police president Mike Shields is quoted as calling the mayor's re-deployment strategy "the Emanuel shuffle". FOP Lodge 7 has for several years tried to get the city to fill the police vacancies and bring the department up to its authorized strength.

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