CPD promotes 135 detectives, aim to combat violence

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The Chicago Police Department welcomed its new class of detectives on Jan. 4, 2017. (WLS)

The Chicago Police Department welcomed its new class of 135 detectives on Wednesday, part of an effort to combat the city's violence problem.

This is the first class of a two-year surge to build up the ranks of investigators. About 200 more detective promotions are expected over the next two years.

The new detectives aim to help existing detectives decrease their caseload, giving them the opportunity to spend more time on each investigation and work to build trust in Chicago's toughest neighborhoods.

"The issue of public safety it's not just on you alone," Mayor Rahm Emanuel said during an event with the new detectives.

Emanuel congratulated the incoming class of detectives and said their elevation is part of city-wide challenge.

"It is the investments we make in the neighborhood, it's the faith we have in the criminal justice system, it is the rank and file police officers,' Emanuel said.

CPD Supt. Eddie Johnson told the new detectives that the larger-than-usual set of promotions is designed to showcase the mayor's police reform efforts.

"We are counting on you -- and I know, I know, I see the usual suspects out here, I know you all are top shelf police officers -- I know that... that is why you are sitting here now," Johnson said.

The mayor said moving more officers from the street will not dilute policing and fits with new efforts to link at-risk youth to mentoring programs.

"It is about all of the above being addressed and making all of the types of investments you need to make," Emanuel said.

Lori Lightfoot, president of the Chicago Police Board, said the promotions are good, but that there should be a focus on why Chicago's caseload closure rate is so low compared to other big cities.

"We have homicide clearance rates in the 20 percent range," Lightfoot said. "And if you're shot and you have the audacity to live the clearance rate is about three percent, those are numbers completely and totally unacceptable ... We can't send a message that you can commit murder and get away with it."

Comparable big cities, such as New York and Los Angeles, have homicide closure rates of 60-70 percent, according to the police board.
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