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114 cops redeployed; critics question number

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Mayor Rahm Emanuel says he's beefing up the police presence on the city's streets.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel says more than 100 officers are being redeployed to patrol the streets. But the head of the police union is questioning that number.

The mayor's announcement comes as the latest statistics show Chicago's crime rate is down.

Flanked by Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy, Emanuel announced the redeployment of 114 additional Chicago cops.

"Which brings our total to 881 officers that have been moved out of bureaucracy and back to the beat," said Emanuel.

But the police officers union points out that over half -- or 59 of the re-assigned officers -- already patrol neighborhoods in specialized units and that only 55 of the 114 work in administration.

"This is government through the media. It's press release after press release after press conference. And it's all smoke and mirrors," said Mike Shields, FOP Lodge 7.

Shields, who says his union had not contacted in advance of any of the redeployments, noted the department is already 2,300 officers below its authorized strength. Five hundred 500 cops are due to retire this year.

"We are shrinking through attrition by having 500 retirees per year, not hiring anybody, we are shrinking," said Shields.

According to the mayor and police superintendent, a smaller, more efficient and accountable force is getting the job done. They report that citywide crime is down 20 percent since August 1.

"I would just call it early signs of some progress," said Emanuel.

"We're talking about 108 less shooting victims in this city over that six week period in comparison to last year," said McCarthy.

"Why would they take a study for six weeks? Why are they condensing these numbers unless they are trying to create some type of statistic?" said Shields.

On West North Avenue where three men were shot Tuesday, Jason Donaldson was not impressed by the reported lower the crime rate.

"Numbers are not gonna keep me from being robbed or having to watch my back from possibly being in a crossfire or something," said Donaldson.

UIC criminologist Dennis Rosenbaum said among other tactics the department's new strategy to direct more resources at high-crime neighborhoods appears to be working.

"They're actually focusing resources to the places where crime is the highest," said Rosenbaum.

Also Wednesday, the mayor's office announced it would make available online a list of every crime committed in the Chicago for the past 10 years and update that list daily.

ABC7 is being told the data is difficult for civilians to decipher. It does not include names but it does list addresses and other information about incidents reported to the Chicago Police Department.

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