DEAL OR NO DEAL: District Short 23 Cops As Deadline For Promised Staffing Increase Looms

EDITORS NOTE: This report originally stated that the 19th district had gained 10 officers in 2016.

That was an error.

The district ended 2015 with 341 officers working in-district. As of February 28, we had 343 officers, a gain of two.


44th Ward Alderman Tom Tunney’s latest newsletter has an update on the long-promised filling of 25 police officer vacancies in the 19th district. The update came in a phone call from a top police executive:

[He] called to let us know that April police officer transfers to the 19th District will be effective on March 27th. His staff committed to getting our office the official transfer information, as well as the total number of officers in the 19th District since October 2015 next week. We will share all documentation from the Chicago Police Department when it is received.

There’s no need for you to wait until Tom gets the manpower information. We have it for you already.

As of February 28, the 19th district’s headcount is 343 police officers according to Chicago Police Department documents secured via a CWBChicago reader’s Freedom of Information Act request.

Another 63 officers are technically assigned to our district, but they are “detailed out”—meaning they actually report for duty elsewhere in the city. One officer from elsewhere was assigned to work in our district.

The district ended 2015 with 341 offices and it currently has 343, so we’ve gained 2 officers so far this year.

Even with those newly-added officers, the district still has 27% fewer cops today than it did in October 2011. That’s a purging of 125 officers, according to the city’s own documents.

The Deal

On October 28, Tunney sent his constituents an email to explain his vote in favor of the city’s record-setting $589 million property tax increase. The second paragraph laid out a deal that Tunney said he cut in exchange for his vote:

First, I have been assured that 35 additional police officers will be assigned to the 19th District in 2016, including 25 in the first quarter and another ten during the rest of the year.

Is it a deal or no deal?

So far, the district has filled 2 officer vacancies in the first quarter, which means that the district is 23 short of the number promised to be here by March 31.

Those 23 will presumably be starting today, March 27, if the promise is to be fulfilled.

And, let’s face it, you have to believe that the 23 are being added. Why else would a police exec call the alderman’s office about the nick-of-time transfers?

Per the deal, ten more officer vacancies are to be filled in the 19th district by the end of 2016.

Oh, and that’s a key point. These officers aren’t supposed to just “transfer in” and then disappear through attrition.

Tunney Chief of Staff Bennett Lawson made it clear after a community meeting last November that the increased headcount is to be permanent.

So, that’s a minimum headcount of 366 cops working in-district by April 1 and 376 cops working in-district by the end of the year.

That’s the lay of the land.

Twenty-three officers need to be added today and 10 more vacancies need to be filled by the end of the year. And, all officers lost to retirements, resignations, transfers, and “detailing out” must be offset. Let’s see what happens.

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CWBChicago was created in 2013 by five residents of Wrigleyville and Boystown who had grown disheartened with inaccurate information that was being provided at local Community Policing (CAPS) meetings. Our coverage area has expanded since then to cover Lincoln Park, River North, The Loop, Uptown, and other North Side Areas. But our mission remains unchanged: To provide original public safety reporting with better context and greater detail than mainstream media outlets. Our editorial email address is