(Above) Mayor Emanuel inspects new police graduates on August 29. (City of Chicago photo.)
No gains on Near North. Between September 2016 and June 2017, the number of police officers in the 18th district declined by 21.
13-Sep-17 Nearly one year into mayor Rahm Emanuels promise to increase the Chicago police force by 1,000 officers, the city had gained just 37, according to data obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request.
Perhaps more stunning is that since his promise was made, 17 of the citys 22 police districts have lost manpower.
On September 21, 2016, Emanuel promised that the city would replace every cop who retires and further increase the departments manpower by 1,000 overall before the end of 2018. But the citys own data comparing manpower on the day of Emanuels promise with the day of our FOIA request, July 21, 2017 shows the city is falling far short. Graduating classes have been barely big enough to keep up with retirements and hundreds of promotions.
Since hearing the promise, Chicagoans have been bombarded with a seemingly endless river of footage showing the mayor at Chicago Police Department graduation ceremonies and jogging with legions of new recruits.
(City of Chicago photo.)
But as of July 21, all the hype had resulted in the addition of just 37 officers.
Another promise, to increase the number of detectives by 266, is faring better, with the departments three detective divisions increasing by a total of 174 investigators since last September.
Police units that saw the greatest increases in strength were the Area North and Area Central detective units, the recruit training division, and the Area Central Bureau of Patrol. The Alternate Response Section, officers who take police reports over the phone, lost the most of all ongoing units, dropping by 39.
Ignoring the backbone
Incredibly, most of the units that lost significant manpower since the mayors promise are local districts, often called the backbone of policing. Chicagos 22 police districts are the front line, handling day-to-day patrols and responding to 911 calls.
In the violence-ripped Englewood District, there are 55 fewer officers than when the mayor promised to add 1,000 officers citywide. The 10th (Ogden) District lost 38 officers, the 4th (South Chicago) lost 27, and the 2nd (Wentworth) is off by 26.
The 18th District, which protects the heart of Chicagos tourism district between the Chicago River, Lake Michigan, and Fullerton Avenue, lost 21 police officers.
(Right) Police on horseback monitor crowds on Michigan Avenue.
The 19th District, spanning from Fullerton north to Lawrence Avenue and from the north branch of the Chicago River east to Lake Michigan, lost 15.
Fewer cops translate directly to slower emergency response times and greater frequency of so-called RAP events. Radio Assignment Pending Status means that a district does not have any police officers available to handle incoming 911 calls.
But if youre frustrated with the fact that your local police district is losing officers while politicians keep talking about how many new cops there are, dont bring it up. Across the city, police commanders, nearly all working with fewer officers than a year ago, have been instructed to shut up about their manpower needs.
At a recent Chicago Alternative Policing Strategy meeting in the 14th District that serves Avondale, Bucktown, Logan Square, and Wicker Park, officers were forbidden to speak about district manpower numbers. Instead, they bounced the question to an alderman in attendance.
CWB Chicagos FOIA request sought total manpower by unit on or about September 21, 2016, and for comparison, July 21, 2017. The request was answered on September 1, two days after CPD said it swore in 182 new officers.