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Chicago Alderman Proposes "Safety and Security Fee" To Hire More Cops

By Chuck Sudo in News on Sep 21, 2012 7:20PM

Ald. George Cardenas (12th)
Ald. George Cardenas (12th) believes he may have found a way to fund hiring more police officers: charge a $5-a-month "safety and security fee" to the electric bills of home and business owners.

Cardenas, who chairs the City Council Health Committee, told the Sun-Times tacking the extra fee to peoples' ComEd bills could potentially generate $70 million and fund hiring an extra 700 police officers to patrol the streets. Cardenas is one of many alderman who have criticized Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy's decision to do away with rapid response tactical units in favor of a gang audit system that targets high crime neighborhoods, and those criticisms have taken on added weight as Chicago's 2012 murder rate is 24 percent higher than last year.

Cardenas believes that last point would resonate best with home and business owners concerned about major crimes in Chicago.

“I’ve talked to people and they’ve said, ‘If it helps bring the violence down, let’s do it.’ In certain neighborhoods, we need more boots on the ground. Simple as that. I’m not sounding the alarm. I’m just saying in some communities, there’s a fear factor.”

McCarthy told NBC Chicago the police department has the necessary manpower to fight crime. Fraternal Order of Police President Michael Shields disputes McCarthy's claim and said attrition is outpacing the hiring of new police officers.