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Mayor, Police Union Off To Positive Start

Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Police Supt. Garry McCarthy attend the funeral of a fallen police officer on Friday. (CBS)

Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Police Supt. Garry McCarthy attend the funeral of a fallen police officer on Friday. (CBS)

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CHICAGO (CBS) – Mayor Rahm Emanuel took time Friday to remember a fallen Chicago police officer.

He and his new police superintendent, Garry McCarthy, paid their last respects to Paul Nauden, who was on patrol last week when he had a heart attack. He died the following day at age 46.

CBS 2 Chief Correspondent Jay Levine has learned that Mayor Emanuel’s appearance at the funeral is not the only way he’s been reaching out to Chicago’s finest.

He has also reached out personally to Fraternal Order of Police President Michael Shields.

“I think it’s important that both parties have a line of communication that wasn’t there during the last administrations,” Shields said.

Emanuel and McCarthy, the new police chief, were attempting to repair relations between City Hall and the rank and file that had deteriorated during Mayor Richard Daley’s tenure.

The most dramatic demonstration of their discontent came in April 2009. They were upset about the lack of progress on a new contract, as well as the style of Daley’s hand-picked superintendent, Jody Weis, who was unpopular among officers.

Weis quickly became an issue in the mayoral campaign to replace Daley. All major candidates sought support of the 10,000-plus police officers by pledging to replace him.

Gery Chico had promised to put 2,000 new officers on the street. Emanuel promised only 1,000, but sources said at the time said they were more concerned about access to City Hall.

Early reaction to the switch from Daley and Weis to Emanuel and McCarthy seems positive.

“It doesn’t help the citizens and it doesn’t help m y membership if both parties aren’t speaking to each other,” Shields said. “I think it’s looking good, but time will tell.”

Shields is somewhat skeptical of what the mayor this week called a down payment on his pledge to put the 1,000 more cops on the street. Simply reassigning officers from specialized units to regular beats, Shields says, doesn’t significantly increase the number of cops on the street.