City to hire 100 cops after third officer killed

July 20, 2010 (CHICAGO)

In the wake of the third fatal shooting of a Chicago police officer in 2 months, there were renewed calls Tuesday night to beef up the police force.

A plan is already in motion to hire 100 new officers, but some say it will take more than manpower to stop the violence against cops.

Some high-ranking officials say a shortage of officers is making some criminals bolder.

Ever since the city and the police union struck a deal allowing officers to retire at 55 with full health benefits, the department has lost several officers to early retirement.

Cops have complained about the lack of manpower.

The head of the police union says more cops and changing the way officers police will make a difference.

While an additional 100 officers will help, Mark Donahue, the president of the Fraternal Order of Police (FOP), says it will take much more for his members to feel safe.

"They don't have an opportunity to do any proactive police work," said Donahue. "Proactive police work in many communities is out the window right now."

Donahue says laws he believes were created to protect criminals, and the fear of lawsuits, have prevented officers from being proactive. He also says officers second-guess themselves all the time before confronting a person.

"It's unfortunate that most times in the criminal element of the community, the only value they put on life is when there is a payday at the end of a civil litigation for them," said Donahue.

On Monday, Mayor Richard M. Daley responded to the FOP's concern about not being proactive.

"If some police officer comes out and starts whacking people around here, you'll have an outrage," said Daley. "We are a country of law."

However, Donahue says being proactive does not mean beating someone.

The Sunday morning murder of Officer Michael Bailey in front of his own home while he was cleaning his brand new car has sparked an outrage that many say should be a wake-up call to everyone.

"The issue dealing with violence is not just more police officers - it's silence," said Daley. "You cannot have silence in a community when anything takes place," said Daley.

Calling police when you hear or see someone shooting a gun is something Thomas Wortham III says must happen. His son, Officer Thomas Wortham IV, was killed in May.

"Had I not been there, my son's killers would have gotten away," said Wortham III. "No one would have known who did it."

Wortham III is a retired police sergeant. He opened fire on his son's attackers, killing one of them.

Police continue to look for Officer Michael Bailey's killer.

Meantime, city hall is still looking for ways to fund the 100 new officers.

Mayor Daley said Tuesday that tax increment financing funds, also known as TIF funds, will not be used.

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