Wednesday, February 07, 2018

Police Superintendent Keeps Promising More Cops—And Keeps Failing To Deliver

If there’s one thing we dislike almost as much as crime, it’s public officials who lie about what’s being done to combat it.

A lie built on a promise from an untrustworthy man.
And Lincoln Park Alderman Michele Smith (43), whose ward has seen a 100% increase in robberies so far this year, is spinning all sorts of bogus information lately.

Smith’s biggest lie is a repeated claim that her 43rd Ward
will “get ten new police officers.”

That’s flat-out false.

Chicago police officers are not assigned to aldermanic wards. They are assigned to police districts. We have learned that Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson actually said that he would shift ten additional officers to the 18th Police District—a slice of the city that contains parts of four wards, including Smith's.

Even if Johnson follows through on his promise—and we are highly skeptical that he will—the ten cops won’t be assigned to Smith’s ward.

While we’re at it, ten additional officers amount to virtually no impact on day-to-day policing. Figuring that four of the ten will be off of work on any given day for their weekend, vacation, or sick pay, that leaves an effective increase of six officers in the district per day. Divide that by three shifts and it’s an increase of two officers at any given time in the 18th District—which spans from the Chicago River to Fullerton and Lake Michigan to the river’s North Branch.

Now, let’s take a look at Johnson’s credibility when it comes to promising an increase in officers to aldermen.

Chicago Police Supt. Eddie Johnson (center) with Mayor Rahm Emanuel on Sunday | Chicago Police Dept
In 2015, Lakeview Alderman Tom Tunney (44) voted in favor of the city’s massive property tax hike plan after (he says), Mayor Rahm Emanuel promised to raise the 19th District police force to a minimum staffing of 376 cops—still well short of the level of 483 that used to protect the area.

Despite the mayor’s purported promise, and Tunney’s incessant urging that his constituents contact Emanuel and Johnson to demanded that they fulfill their obligations, the 19th District has had fewer than 376 officers since last June.

As recently as November 2, Tunney said he met with Johnson about the manpower shortage and “the Superintendent expressed disappointment and concern about staffing levels. He assured me the 19th District will see staff increases in the coming months.”

That has yet to happen.

So, good luck getting those ten officers you’ve been promised, Alderman Smith. You’re gonna need it.

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