Weis faces questions on CPD budget

October 19, 2010 (CHICAGO)

Weis appeared at the City Council's hearings on next year's budget.

Supt. Weis says Chicago continues to experience a decrease in crime. That's while he's worked to streamline the department, and put officers where they're needed the most. Still, Weis says he'd like to hire many more officers but says there's just not enough money.

For day two of City Council hearings on Mayor Daley's budget for 2011, Supt. Weis sat down for his turn to present the budget for the Chicago Police Department. The process lasted most of the day as Weis fielded dozens of questions from aldermen.

"What is your projection on when the first class of new officers will get into the academy in 2011," asked one alderman.

"We will see some relief right after the first of the year, but as for when we are going to hire those classes, between 150 and 200 for 2011, I don't have those dates yet," replied Weis.

The superintendent says the department is ready to hire up to 200 new officers next year. But that's not enough for some aldermen who say that number is far below the 900 vacancies on the department.

"They're telling us today that they are going to hire 200 plus officers, but you already have the authority to hire 900, 9 to 950. Where are they? Why didn't you hire them? Why did you slow it down?" said Ald. Ricardo Munoz, 22nd Ward.

"I'm not satisfied with the administration's budget. A lot more cutting can be done in other areas to free up revenue to support initiatives like adding police to our streets," said Ald. Brendan Reilly, 42nd Ward.

Weis says there's not enough money to fill all the positions and has worked to take more officers from desk duty to street patrol. He says with the 200 new officers next year and the officers that have been reassigned, there will be 800 more cops on the street.

"We do have to work within the physical constraints. There's not a police chief who wouldn't want more officers, but there's a tough budget, too," said Weis.

Weis said he's interested in using retired officers as auxiliary staff as a way to maximize the police force but is still researching that idea.

Even when the new officers are hired next year, they still have to go through nearly a year of training so they won't be on the street right away.

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