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CHICAGO (STMW) — Chicago Police Supt. Garry McCarthy on Friday announced plans to reduce or eliminate city-funded security for city officials, including powerful Ald. Ed Burke, the Sun-Times is reporting.
“After completing a review, it has been determined that the officials who have security paid for by the city require less or no protection,” McCarthy said in a written statement released Friday. “Most of the police officers will go back on the street at a savings of $650,000 to the taxpayers.”
The security details for Burke and City Treasurer Stephanie Neely will both be “reduced,” according to the McCarthy’s office, but the statement did not say by how much.
“We can’t discuss that — it’s a security issue,” a spokeswoman for Mayor Rahm Emanuel said.
McCarthy’s office said Emanuel’s security detail has already been reduced, and the superintendent’s own detail will also be reduced. Security for Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez and the Chicago Housing Authority CEO have been eliminated, according to the statement.
While Emanuel and McCarthy will continue to use Chicago Police officers for security, other officials will use “security specialists” who are retired police officers.
Burke’s controversial four-bodyguard detail dates back to his role as a political lightning rod who marshaled opposition to Mayor Harold Washington during the “Council Wars” in the 1980s.
In 1986, Chicago police informed Burke his security detail would be reduced from four police officers to two, as the number of reported “incidents” — including threats — involving aldermen plummeted.
In response, Burke sued the mayor, police superintendent and the city and was able to keep the four-member detail.
(Source: Sun-Times Media Wire © Chicago Sun-Times 2010. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)