McCarthy: Mayor's plan always involved redeploying cops already on streets

September 16, 2011 5:26:28 AM PDT
Is Mayor Rahm Emanuel living up to a campaign promise to add 1,000 more police officers to Chicago's streets?

The mayor says he's in the process of beefing up police presence, but critics disagree. On Thursday, Chicago Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy weighed in on the matter.

"I heard the mayor say very specifically 'into beats'. That's where we're putting cops. Into districts," Supt. McCarthy said while standing outside the Chicago Police Department headquarters on Thursday.

On Wednesday, Mayor Emanuel announced he had moved 114 more officers into the districts, which raises the total number of officers re-deployed since his inauguration to 881.

According to the Chicago Police Union president, more than 75-percent of those cops already patrolled neighborhoods as part of special units, so they should not be considered new cops on the beat.

"That's not a suggestion that I ever made. These officers were on the streets. The difference is they are re-deployed into districts," McCarthy said.

Due to a budget-related hiring slowdown that has been going on for several years now, the Chicago Police Department is about 2,300 officers below its authorized strength of 13,500. The numbers became an issue in the campaign for mayor, during which candidate Gery Chico won the endorsement of the Fraternal Order of Police.

"I want to hire 2,000 police officers because that's where I think our strength level needs to be," Chico said during the campaign.

Emanuel promised 1,000 more cops on the street, but searches of ABC7's archives did not find a record of him using the word "hire."

"I have a crime strategy of about putting more police on the street and getting kids, guns and drugs off the street," Mayor Emanuel said during the campaign.

The F.O.P. president projects that by the end of the year, the Chicago Police Department will be 2800 officers below its authorized strength due to 500 more retirements.

"I cannot possibly ask for one police officer to be hired until such time as I am sure that every resource in this agency is being used to 100- percent capacity focused on the things that we need to do," Supt. McCarthy said.

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