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Chicago To Increase Police Presence On Streets, 130 More Cops To Patrol

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Following a violent Memorial Day weekend, Mayor Daley announced Wednesday that the city would have 130 more police officers patrolling the streets and trains this summer.

At a Wednesday news conference, Daley said 86 of the officers will be right out of the police academy, and the rest will be reassigned from within the department, Chicago Public Radio reports. The officers will be paid using federal stimulus funds, which will run out in 3 years. Daley hopes that the economy will rebound by the time that happens and the city can hire more officers.

"Saving one life makes a difference," Daley said. "Saving a victim from a shooting makes a difference. I mean that's all this is about. And they're doing that continually - the police department, on a daily basis."

Chicago Public Radio reports that 50 of the new recruits will patrol the streets and 36 will patrol public transit.

A budget shortfall has led to shakeups within the Chicago Police Department in the past. The Chicago Tribune reports:

Last year, the department moved 168 officers from administrative duties to street assignments as part of a police staffing analysis.

Understaffing has been a problem in recent years, exacerbated in part by the decision to lower the early retirement age to 55 from 60 to attract younger officers who make less. As of late April, the Police Department was down 780 officers, a spokesman said.

"These aren't huge numbers, but every officer matters," Daley said.

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