Two hundred Chicago police officers will migrate from administrative tasks to the streets, Mayor Rahm Emanuel and police Supt. Garry McCarthy announced Thursday.
"Why would you ask the taxpayers for more when you're not using what you have today well?" Emanuel said at a press event at Area Central Headquarters.
The move comes on the heels of a recommendation report released last week by Chicago's Inspector General and with the city ending one of its most violent months in a decade. As of late Thursday, Chicago recorded 42 homicides, including the death of a 15-year-old girl gunned down earlier in the week in what authorities said was a gang turf war.
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"Getting these officers out the door quickly from their assignments, putting them into places where they can make a difference, this was the simplest, easiest, best assignment that we could do," said McCarthy.
The reassigned officers, who Inspector General Joe Ferguson said are doing administrative tasks such as making travel arrangements, timekeeping, grant writing and nursing, will be replaced by civilians, Emanuel's office said.
Ferguson said the move could save city taxpayers about $16 million annually.
The first deployment will happen fairly quickly. Sixty officers will be reassigned to mobile units by the weekend. Emanuel said the full transition of 200 cops should be completed by the end of March.
"If we're hiring officers to be clerks, we're being inefficient. If we're hiring officers to put them in the places at the times when crime is most likely to happen, and giving them the tools, those are the steps that will reduce crime," said McCarthy.
Moving the officers from the desk to strike force is contrary, however, to Emanuel's and McCarthy's original plan to de-emphasize specialized units.
"Emanuel's administration is so controlling of police headquarters. Everything has to be run past them. They've got to knock it off," said Fraternal Order of Police President Mike Shields. "City Hall needs to get their fingers out of the policing process and let Chicago police officers go do their job."