You have to admire the Chicago Police Department’s ability to make every new Chicago police officer count…twice.
Early last week, the department held what was billed as the largest graduation ceremony for new officers, detectives, and promoted officers in… well, nobody was sure, but it was the most anyone could remember. Three hundred and something officers at the ceremony had recently been hired or promoted.
Then, on Sunday, Mayor Rahm Emanuel held another press conference to announce that 98 “new officers” were starting work in various districts that day.
Another 98 new police officers being deployed to Police Districts citywide today. @ChicagosMayor Aldermen and our strongest partners – the residents of @ChicagoCAPS24 – join us for this announcement. pic.twitter.com/hapquIAMvD
— Chicago Police (@Chicago_Police) January 20, 2019
Wow. Over 300 one day. Then 98 “new” officers a few days later.
But, it turns out, the 98 “new officers” were part of the “over 300” “largest ever” media opportunity, too. So, they count twice.
With media baiting like that, it’s no wonder that some North Side aldermen are publishing incorrect information about how many officers have been added to their local police districts.
60 + 18 = 136?
Alderman Michele Smith (43rd), who represents much of Lincoln Park, sent her “2018 Year in Review” email to constituents this month claiming that she “advocated for and gained 136 new Police Officers in 18th and 19th Districts.”
But there’s a problem.
According to Chicago’s Office of the Inspector General, the 18th District ended 2017 with 361 officers and ended 2018 with 421 officers, a gain of 60. (It has lost 12 of those officers already this year, the OIG says.)
Meanwhile, the 19th District ended 2017 with 364 cops and ended 2018 with 382, the OIG says. That’s a gain of 18 officers.
Doing some quick math.
So, how did Smith come up with a gain of 136 instead of 78?
We emailed her office and were told her “Director of Communications would like to give you a call to go over the ‘136’ number.” We’re still waiting to hear from them.
While an “increase” of 78 officers in the 18th and 19th District last year is lovely, the fact of the matter is that the two districts have actually lost a combined 104 police officers since Rahm Emanuel became mayor.
282 + x = 300
One week after Smith’s email went out, Alderman Joe Moore (49th) of Rogers Park sent an email celebrating that “in all, 50 new police officers have been added to the 24th District since the beginning of 2017, when the City embarked on a two-year hiring plan to increase the number of police officers on the street.”
According to the OIG, the 24th District ended last year with a strength of 300 cops. And, according to manpower data previously secured by CWBChicago through a Freedom of Information Act request, the same district had 282 cops when the police hiring plan was announced.
We dropped Moore a line. Where’d you guys get that “plus 50” number? The correct number is 18.
Answer: “from the Mayor’s office.”