970 new Chicago police officers will need 600 new squad cars

Mayor Rahm Emanuel wants to borrow $25 million to pay for new squad cars for the 970 new officers he plans to hire in the next two years, but how he will pay for the additional cops remains under wraps, the Chicago Sun-Times is reporting.

On Thursday, Emanuel's office will seek approval from the City Council Finance Committee to tack the vehicle-related borrowing onto an existing series of general obligation bonds, Budget Office spokeswoman Molly Poppe said.

As for the estimated $134 million it will cost to put nearly 1,000 new cops on the CPD payroll, Poppe said Emanuel will spell out the funding sources when he introduces his 2017 budget proposal next month.

The $25 million price tag will cover more than 600 vehicles, to be purchased over two years, Poppe said. The all-wheel drive Interceptor SUV will be built at Chicago's Ford Assembly Plant on South Torrence Avenue. The CPD fleet is mostly comprised of Ford sedans and SUVs, but department officials have not yet determined the mix of models needed, Poppe said.

Last week, Emanuel announced the police hiring surge as a key component of his strategy to reduce crime and calm tensions between the CPD and citizens, but he did not say where the cash-strapped city would find the money for the officers.

Emanuel's plan also called for spending $36 million on mentoring programs intended to steer middle- and high school-age children away from gangs, listing the city and several corporate sponsors as funding sources.

This year Emanuel has pushed through tax increases totaling $838 million for police, fire and teacher pensions, in addition to a new fee for trash collection and a 29.5 percent bump to water and sewer bills. However, the new police hires could eventually allow the department to reduce the $116 million spent on police overtime in 2015.
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