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Chicago Police Superintendent: Overtime Costs For 'Hot Zone' Expansion Worth The Money

By Chuck Sudo in News on May 13, 2013 8:40PM


Chicago Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy is defending the costs of his “hot zone” plan to fight violent crime and after a Sun-Times report two weeks ago showed the Police Department has blown through two-thirds of its overtime budget for the year already, and we haven’t even reached the hot months where gun violence and homicides tend to skyrocket together.

McCarthy announced in March he planned on expanding the “saturation” plan using police working overtime to patrol the streets in a show of manpower after no homicides were reported in the 10 areas where it was initially implemented. But the reliance on paying police overtime to patrol these “hot zones” has resulted in $21 million of the department’s allotted 2013 overtime budget being spent in the first three months of the year. The Sun-Times reports that number doesn’t include the extra officers who were added to “Operation Impact” on March 1, so the second quarter overtime bill could be even greater.

DNAInfo Chicago reports McCarthy as saying he has Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s assurances they’ll find the extra money “to ensure that we provide public safety for citizens of Chicago.” McCarthy added the overtime costs had additional benefits besides reducing violent crime and cited a 2010 report from the Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation indicating, when factoring in health care and incarceration, one single homicide involving a gun costs $5 million.

“So do the math,” McCarthy said Monday at a news conference in the Deering District police station, 3120 S. Halsted St. “If over the last eight months, we’ve stopped 90 murders from occurring, are we being penny-wise and dollar foolish if we worry about that [the overtime budget]?”