Standing alongside his Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced Wednesday that, effective on Thursday, 114 of the city's police officers would be reassigned as beat officers.
As NBC Chicago reports, roughly half of the reassigned officers previously had administrative jobs, while the other half are being redeployed from special units. This move brings the total of officers reassigned to the streets to 881 under Emanuel's tenure as mayor.
McCarthy explained the move as "efficient management."
"We found that there was 'clutter,' if you will, in the station houses; too many police officers doing jobs that they didn't need to do," McCarthy explained, as reported by NBC Chicago. "We eliminated those positions and put these officers out in the streets."
Still, critics point out that Emanuel's redeployed officers fall short of the 1,000 new officers the mayor pledged to deploy to the streets of the city, a fact not lost on Chicago Fraternal Order of Police President Mike Shields.
Of the officers moved from other units, Shields said these officers were already patrolling neighborhoods. And the police department remains about 2,300 officers short of its full strength in terms of manpower, ABC 7 reports. Shields has referred to the strategy "the Emanuel shuffle."
"This is government through the media. It's press release after press release after press conference. And it's all smoke and mirrors," Shields told ABC 7. "We are shrinking through attrition by having 500 retirees per year, not hiring anybody, we are shrinking."
McCarthy added that he is continuing to look for ways to increase the number of beat officers -- though it appears unlikely that reassignments will remain the strategy of the day, since Emanuel has tasked McCarthy's departments with identifying budget cuts estimated at $190 million -- or just less than 15 percent of their $1.3 billion annual budget.
"We haven't even looked at other parts of the department that are actively engaged in crime work, and whether or not it's the most efficient use of our resources," McCarthy said, as reported by the Chicago Tribune.
Emanuel and McCarthy also announced Wednesday that a 20 percent reduction in crime citywide had been recorded in August and September to date when compared to the same period last year.
WATCH Emanuel discuss the redeployment of 114 Chicago cops to the streets:
View more videos at: http://nbcchicago.com.
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