Just weeks after police superintendent Garry McCarthy said that he couldn't touch Alderman Ed Burke's city-financed security detail, his office announced that Burke and many other city officials would see their police details trimmed or cut entirely.
"After completing a review, it has been determined that the officials who have security paid for by the city require less or no protection," McCarthy said in a statement. "Most of the police officers will go back on the street at a savings of $650,000 to the taxpayers."
The most granular details of the cuts haven't been released for security purposes, according to ABC. But the department has announced that Mayor Emanuel had already trimmed his security; that city treasurer Stephanie Neely's detail would be reduced; and that Cook County State's Attorney Anita Alvarez and the CEO of the Chicago Housing Authority would be eliminated entirely. Alvarez will, however, retain her county-provided security.
And the Chicago Sun-Times reports that Burke will now be assigned retired Chicago police officers instead of active-duty CPD officers. His detail will also be diminished in number, adding to the cost savings.
Burke has had a police detail since the days of the Council Wars, when he was a member of a the Vrdolyak 29, a group of white aldermen who united to stop any major initiatives by black mayor Harold Washington. At the time, Burke received a number of threats, and was assigned police for protection. Over the years, though, the threats against Burke have fallen off sharply.
The detail became a political issue in the mayoral campaign, when Rahm Emanuel challenged Burke to lose the cops. "The City Council has to share in the sacrifice because the residents will be sharing in sacrifice," he said in February, "which means if Ed Burke has six police officers, that just can't continue."
Emanuel's remarks prompted observers to speculate that a political showdown was looming between the mayor and the City Council. Thus far, such a battle hasn't come to fruition, as Burke and Emanuel have reconciled and the Council has largely bent to Emanuel's will.