Chicago Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy promised in late 2011 that the city's new budget would provide for the department to hire more police officers, and on Monday, the chief announced that between 450 and 500 new officers would be added to the current fleet before the end of 2012.
McCarthy told the Chicago Sun-Times that the hires will offset expected retirements this year to maintain a force of 12,500 sworn employees, including 9,600 officers. He says 89 new officers have already been hired, including recruits that recently graduated from or are currently enrolled in the police academy, cops from other jurisdictions and veterans returning from service in Afghanistan and Iraq.
The Fraternal Order of Police balked at Mayor Rahm Emanuel's initial plan to contend with dwindling officer numbers and spikes in violent crime, which called for a redeployment of 1,019 officers onto the streets. FOP President Mike Shields called the plan "the Emanuel shuffle," and the organization paid for billboards on the Kennedy, Dan Ryan and Stevenson expressways lobbying for the department to hire more officers.
Police First Deputy Supt. Al Wysinger explained to CBS Chicago earlier this year that the department couldn't amp up their hiring efforts until they first "held [existing staff members] accountable" and focused on "beat integrity," achieved by assigning the same officers to work the same beat every day until they develop a better understanding of the community.
McCarthy's hiring announcement closely follows the news that the CPD will be partnering with community outreach group CeaseFire, which employs former gang members and activists to "interrupt" conflicts in the city's most high-crime neighborhoods. Funding for the program will be offered through the city's Department of Public health in response to a particularly high-crime Memorial Day weekend, where 11 people were killed and 40 were wounded by gun violence.