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Rahm Asks McCarthy for $190 Million Cut to Police Budget

By Chris Bentley in News on Sep 1, 2011 4:40PM

AP Photo/Paul Beaty
Chicago Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy told the Sun-Times Tuesday that Mayor Emanuel asked him to trim the police department’s budget by $190 million, a cut of nearly 15 percent.

The department could save almost half of that ($93 million) by eliminating vacancies, a move blasted by the head of Chicago’s police union as “Enron-style accounting.” Emanuel said the decision whether or not to eliminate the 1,400 police vacancies will be made by Oct. 15, when the mayor unveils his budget.

Chicago’s Fraternal Order of Police told WBEZ the department is already short on staff, despite Emanuel’s campaign promise to put 1,000 more cops on the streets. The mayor’s office has shifted 750 officers doing desk work to beat patrol duty so far.

Emanuel vowed earlier this year that he would not fire cops to help close the city's budget gap. Chicago has about 13,500 budgeted officer positions, of which a little more than 11,000 are currently filled.

The police department accounts for about one-third of the city’s corporate budget. But cuts have long been politically thorny in a city struggling with street violence. Four teens were shot in Woodlawn Wednesday, hours before the mayor arrived there to talk about neighborhood revitalization, ABC 7 reported.