Updated 09/13/11 – 3:45 p.m.
CHICAGO (CBS) — Mayor Rahm Emanuel confirmed Tuesday that the security detail assigned to former Mayor Richard M. Daley and his wife is being cut in half.
As WBBM Newsradio Political Editor Craig Dellimore reports, Emanuel said that instead of the six active-duty police officers former Mayor Daley had assigned to him, now there are three. And he said two of those are on call for former First Lady Maggie Daley, who’s battling cancer and occasionally must visit the hospital or a doctor.
“Two of the officers … are for Maggie Daley, the former first lady who’s battling cancer. I made that decision because as she’s dealing with her health issues, getting to and from the hospital for her health care should not be a problem for her and I didn’t want it to be a problem,” Emanuel said.
LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio Political Editor Craig Dellimore reports
Emanuel said Maggie Daley has volunteered countless hours for the city’s after school programs and other matters and this is the right thing to do.
“When Maggie needs them to get to the doctor or to the hospital, they’re available. And I think while we’re a city of big shoulders, we’re also a city of big hearts,” Emanuel said. “The former first lady has served this city without any compensation at all for years. And I think it’s the decent thing to do as a city and we’re decent people.”
Emanuel said those officers patrol the neighborhood when they’re not with the Daleys.
The mayor also emphasized that the security detail for the Daleys is temporary.
“The two are dedicated to help Maggie when she needs them to get to her health care needs,” he said. “And then there’s the one that’s available for the mayor. And, as I said, this is transitional and temporary and we’ll be phasing it out accordingly.”
In all, four public officials get police bodyguards at taxpayer expense – Daley, Burke, Mayor Emanuel himself, and city Treasurer Stephanie Neely. Recently-departed Chicago Housing Authority chief Lewis Jordan also had tax-supported bodyguards until he the mayor took them away.
A Freedom of Information Request by CBS 2 showed 31 officers in total made $2.8 million to protect the officials.