Mayor Rahm Emanuel joined Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy yesterday as he announced the reassignment of approximately 200 sworn police officers from administrative positions to Area Headquarters where they will join existing Area Saturation Teams and focus on preventing gun violence and gang crimes.
In view of the spike in murders during the month of January, in which 40 homicides occurred. That was the highest number since 2002. A move like this has a greater sense of urgency to stop the violence.
The murder of fifteen-year old King College Prep sophomore Hadiya Pendleton, has gained national attention and placed increased pressure on police to solve the murder and to make the streets of Chicago safer. Hadiya Pendleton had marched in the Inauguration parade last week and her murder also got the attention of the White House.
The redeployment comes after multiple audits determined that additional administrative responsibilities should be handled by civilians and not sworn personnel.
“Since our first week in office, we have been focused on moving police officers onto the beat and working directly in our communities,” said Mayor Emanuel. “Today’s move is another effort to target gangs and guns in particular areas with every officer we have available.”
Over a week ago, Chicago's Inspector General, Joseph Ferguson, issued a report recommending that the Chicago Police Department (CPD) civilianize 292 positions to save the City an estimated $6.4 to $16.6 million annually. 30 separate CPD units were analyzed and found that at least 292 full-time positions of the 370 reviewed could be filled by civilians.
This announcement by Mayor Emanuel and Superintendent McCarthy come on the heels of that report by the city of Chicago's IGO. Mayor Emanuel told a press conference that he was evaluating what other officers could be moved from civilian work to patrol when Ferguson issued his report. But he also called Ferguson’s report “useful and instructive.”
Mayor Emanuel told the Chicago Tribune that "he isn't prepared" to hire additional police beyond those needed to keep up with police department retirements. "In my view, you don't ask the taxpayers to pay for additional cops until you make sure you're using every cop on the payroll today effectively," Emanuel said in the Chicago Tribune report.
CPD will immediately move 60 officers, with 30 officers going to Area Central and 15 officers reassigned to both Area North and Area South. Each Area already has a mobile contingent of officers to deploy at their discretion, and these officers will add to those teams. Their deployment will determined by Area Deputy Chiefs, and their deployment will be restricted to the areas in which they are assigned.
“This organizational change will result in more effective policing and the goal of reducing violence from gangs and guns,” said Superintendent McCarthy. “By moving officers to Area headquarters, they will be empowered to travel across districts while still cultivating trusting relationships within the communities they serve. Their responsibilities will now be filled by civilians, which provides the Department more flexibility and additional resources to areas that need them most”
The Police Department constantly evaluates its organizational structure and administrative needs to find maximum efficiencies. Following the redeployment of over 1,000 police officers to patrol assignments, CPD began an audit of the department to find greater efficiencies and opportunities to hire civilians and return officers to patrol. In addition, the Inspector General’s office recently released its own audit that was both useful and instructive in making suggestions for the broader responsibilities that civilians could handle in the Chicago Police Department.
More officers will begin to be transferred in February, and all 200 will be moved from department headquarters and district offices into patrol position by March 31.
“This redeployment also strengthens the relationships with communities and police, by committing officers to a geographic area to work and reinforcing beat officers on the issues plaguing their communities,” said McCarthy.
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John is the author of an award-winning book, the 2010 Winner of the USA National Best Book award for African-American studies, published by The Elevator Group Mr. and Mrs. Grassroots: How Barack Obama, Two Bookstore Owners, and 300 Volunteers did it. Also available an eBook on Amazon. John is also a member of the Society of Midland Authors and is a book reviewer of political books for the New York Journal of Books.