City Buying Police Department 2,000 SUVs, Still No New Officers

By Marcus Gilmer in News on Dec 2, 2008 4:35PM

2008_12_02_Tahoe.jpgIn one of the more mind-bending announcements to come out of City Hall as of late (which is saying something), the City of Chicago has signed a $59.2 million deal with Advantage Chevrolet to provide the Chicago Police Department with 2,000 SUVs over the next three years. All this could possibly mean that by 2011, squad cars would be replaced by Chevy Tahoes, which is a car that CPD Superintendent Jody Weis likes. What gets us is this Sun-Times article, which focuses on the fact that the City went to a suburban dealership instead of a city dealership. Hugh Clark, vice president of special accounts for Advantage Chevrolet "acknowledged the city would have preferred to award the lucrative contract to a Chicago dealership at a time when dealerships across the city are struggling to stay in business."

Here's the thing that concerns us: why can the Daley Administration spend $60 million on new cars when what we really need is more officers? In a time when Mayor Daley is getting ready to layoff hundreds of city workers, raise taxes, and privatize airports just to make ends meet, the best idea you can think of is to spend more money on gas-guzzling cars that handle like tanks in high-speed chases? It's clear that the Mayor has his head so far in the 2016 Olympics cloud - or somewhere else - that he has lost touch with fiscal reality. For months, we've been reading about the escalating crime rate in this city and listening to Hizzonah preach on and on about how there's just not enough money to hire more officers. And yet he thinks nothing of dropping $60 million? The same mayor who claimed SUVs were tearing up city roads just a few years ago? We're apoplectic over here.

Look, we understand that our boys in blue deserve to have top-notch equipment. Winters here suck and we're sure it's a pain in the ass to get out there in old cars to keep the streets safe for us citizens. Weis confirms the current fleet of cars is in "horrible" condition. Fine, let's replace them, but do we need to drop so much money on SUV's? As Second City Cop points out, "probably over 60% of officers haven't ever driven a high-center-of-gravity vehicle. Probably 80% haven't even moved a squadrol since their Academy days." What's wrong with replacing the cars with newer models of the same cars? Wouldn't that save money on the cars, gas, features, and time spent training new officers? And, lest we forget the Mayor's green initiative, the hybrid models are the most expensive of all Tahoes.

You know what? We give up. God bless our cops, but screw our mayor.