The number of police officers assigned to Chicago’s 22 police districts has fallen by 23 cops since Mayor Rahm Emanuel promised to add 970 officers to the department in September 2016 according to the latest manpower numbers released by the Chicago Police Department in response to a Freedom of Information request.
Analysis of the numbers shows that a commonly held belief that Emanuel is taking cops from safer neighborhoods to protect the more dangerous, high-homicide areas is simply false: Four out of the five worst districts for homicides have lost officers since Emanuel’s promise to hire 970 cops.
Just two months after taking office, Emanuel told the Chicago Tribune
“The beat officer is the backbone of the police department, and it had been hollowed out over years…“We are strengthening that. An officer tied to a radio, knowing a neighborhood, knowing its neighbors — that’s how you affect crime.”
And at a police graduation ceremony in 2012, Emanuel said,
“The beat officer is the backbone of the police force. As Mayor, my number one priority for safety is putting more police on the beat, and keeping kids, guns and drugs off the street.”
But the numbers tell a different story. Under Emanuel, the police department has hemorrhaged 343 beat cops, many from the city’s most violent areas.
|Number of officers assigned to each district. Officers assigned to the district who work elsewhere are not included in these figures. | Data source: Chicago Police Department|
Districts have gained a total of 231 officers since last July, but there are still 343 fewer “cops on the beat” than when Emanuel took office.
The 19th (Town Hall) District, which serves Lakeview and parts of Uptown, North Center, Lincoln Square, and Lincoln Park has lost 23% of its manpower since Emanuel was sworn in. The district, which includes three marinas, a miles-long stretch of lakefront, multiple entertainment districts, and Wrigley Field is protected by 108 fewer beat cops than in 2011, records show.
Alderman Tom Tunney, whose 44th Ward lies within the 19th District this month said he was “alarmed” by continued cuts in the district’s manpower.
The newly-released staffing information did not include the number of officers assigned to the police department’s many non-district units.
“CPD always planned to grow detective and training ranks in 2017 while also maintaining staffing levels in districts, and we’re right on track,” according to department Chief Communications Officer Anthony Guglielmi. “2018 was always going to be a year in which we will add more manpower in police districts across the city.”
Guglielmi said there are “more than 600 recruits currently in the academy, and hundreds more on the way. We will meet that goal” of adding 970 cops to the police department.
Four of the five worst districts for homicides have lost beat cops since Emanuel’s promise to staff up the department. The 11th District, which recorded 70 homicides in 2017 has dropped 13 cops since then. However, the district has experienced a net gain of 29 cops since 2011.
Homicides in the 11th District were down 25% last year and are down 60% so far in 2018, according to CPD Director of Communications Frank Giancamilli. Four of the five leading homicide districts saw declines in murders last year, he said.