A Northwest Side alderman wants to allow his colleagues to cut the number of cops who patrol their wards so those “unwanted” officers can be re-assigned to neighborhoods that want more police service.
The proposal by Ald. Anthony Napolitano (41st), announced Wednesday, faces seemingly insurmountable political and logistical hurdles. Not the least of its challenges is the fact that cops are not assigned to patrol wards, they’re assigned to police districts that span multiple wards.
Even if patrols could be removed from wards, it’s unlikely that any alderman would accept the political risks of cutting police services for their constituents.
The proposal is Napolitano’s answer to calls of “defunding” police departments in the wake of George Floyd’s death at the hands of a Minneapolis police officer on May 25.
Some promoters of the “defund” movement say they don’t really want to dismantle police departments. Rather, they want some of the money dedicated to police redistributed to other programs like mental health and social service programs.
“I am so disheartened with the growing nationwide push to defund the police,” Napolitano said on Facebook. “Many of my colleagues who benefit from major police resources are now joining the fight to defund the police. Enough is enough!”
Napolitano’s said his “Police Reallocation Pilot Program” will allow aldermen to single-handedly remove all or some of the police resources allocated to their wards. Aldermen who want to reduce police presence in their wards would have to slash at least 50% of CPD services under his proposal.
“Any resources deferred from wards as part of the program will be evenly redistributed across all non-participating wards,” Napolitano said. He did not say how officers would be removed from individual wards when they are assigned to districts.
“Aldermen who support defunding the police will get their wish,” Napolitano said in his Facebook post. “Those of us who have been advocating for more police will receive more resources. #winwin.”
But Napolitano, a former Chicago cop and fireman, said, “I expect this resolution to receive the support of all 50 aldermen.”