Manpower in the 19th district reached its highest level since autumn 2013 this month according to staffing information released by 44th Ward Alderman Tom Tunney on Thursday.
CWB Chicago received identical staffing numbers independently through a reader’s Freedom of Information Act request on Wednesday.
The 19th district’s manpower is now 100 officers short of its October 2011 staffing level, a decrease of 21%.
The manpower replenishment is being achieved in part by assigning some new police academy graduates and their field training officers to the 19th district, according to the information provided directly to CWB Chicago.
Seven field training officers and a similar number of probationary police officers are working in the district.
Another 12 officers who are officially assigned to other police units are currently being “detailed in” to the 19th district. That means they report to work in our neighborhood despite being officially assigned elsewhere.
Thirty-six police officer vacancies have now been filled in the 19th district since the start of 2016, fulfilling a promise that Tunney and other aldermen said they received from Mayor Rahm Emanuel in exchange for their votes in favor of the city’s record property tax hike last fall.
Tunney revealed the agreement in a newsletter to his constituents after casting his vote in October:
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.
Uptown Alderman James Cappleman was more than happy to play numbers games and declare “mission accomplished” on the manpower promise two months ago. That’s the approach we’ve come to expect from Cappleman.
It is refreshing to see that Tunney didn’t stoop to playing that game. Multiple sources have told CWB Chicago that Tunney has been pushing hard for Emanuel and the police department to fulfill the promises made with no games or gimmicks.
32nd Ward Alderman Scott Waugespack, a frequent Emanuel critic and long-time straight-shooter on our district’s public safety challenges, has also been applying substantial pressure, according to a department source.
Will They Stay Or Will They Go?
The question now is simple. Will the district’s modest replenishment be sustained? Improved upon? Or will the area’s manpower again be allowed to atrophy? We’ll all know in short order.