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City Promises (A Few) More Cops

By Marcus Gilmer in News on Jul 20, 2010 2:30PM

2010_07_20_CPD.jpg Already severely understaffed and reeling from the deaths of three police officers in a two month span, the City of Chicago has promised more police officers but a look at the numbers show it's just a drop in the bucket. A two-year "slowdown" on hiring new police officers has left the department down by 2,300 officers and yet City Hall's big promise? 100 new officers. It's an attempt to do some kind of boosting of numbers and morale after two years of trying to save money on hirings (even as more money was spent on new SUVs). Mark Donahue, president of the Fraternal Order of Police, said, "The manpower situation in the Chicago Police Department is bad. Guys are out there every day telling us they have to wait for backup. And we're advising them to wait for backup for their own safety." The mayor's spokeswoman, Jacquelyn Heard, said the ball got rolling on the new hires a few weeks ago, prior to this weekend's shooting death of CPD officer Michael Bailey.

At the ceremony yesterday in which Gov. Quinn signed a new gun bill into law in honor of fallen officer Thomas Wortham, IV, Wortham's father and Mayor Daley also called for personal responsibility from parents and community leaders to help fight the increase in violent crime.

"We cannot continue to raise a generation of kids who grow up and think they can kill people at will," said Wortham, a retired police sergeant. "Maybe we cannot save them, but there's a new generation coming up that we need to save. We need activities in the community to keep from creating more monsters [than] we have on the street."

Mayor Daley added, "People have to take ownership of their family. No one else can do it. How many police officers do you want dead?"