January’s homicide total surpasses the number of days we are into this year, and in response, the number of Chicago police officers on patrol will spike too.
Beginning this weekend, cops currently on desk duty will be reassigned to the beat. The first wave includes 60 officers, and a total of 200 additional officers will be working the street by the end of March.
Civilians will be taking over the officers’ administrative duties after the most violent start to a year in more than a decade. 15-year-old Hadiya Pendleton’s murder Tuesday was the 42nd of 2013. This year’s homicide rate is 20 percent higher than even last year, one in which 506 were killed.
Mayor Rahm Emanuel says the reassignment plan is a swift way to respond to the bloodshed efficiently. Since taking office, he says more than one thousand officers have been reassigned from desk duties to the street.
The Fraternal Order of Police opposes the plan, one which President Mike Shields calls a “shell game.” He argues that Chicagoans really don’t want civilians guarding drugs, guns and cash in the police evidence room, for example. He says these jobs are for skilled officers.
The police department will immediately move 30 officers to patrol Area Central, and 15 will be reassigned to both Area North and Area South.