UPDATED 09/14/11 11:14 a.m.
CHICAGO (CBS) — Mayor Rahm Emanuel is putting 114 Chicago Police officers back on the street, redeploying them from specialized units and administrative posts.
Emanuel joined police Supt. Garry McCarthy Wednesday at the Broadway Armory in the Edgewater neighborhood, to announce the the redeployment of 114 police officers to the city’s 25 police districts.
Of those officers, 59 will come from specialized units. The remaining 55 are currently assigned to administrative positions within the department’s Bureau of Patrol.
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The reassignments will take effect Thursday, and each and every one of the city’s police districts will receive new officers, the mayor’s office said.
“Successful policing begins with the beat officers who earn the trust of the communities they serve, shift by shift and patrol by patrol,” Mayor Emanuel said in a news release. “These police officers have made that commitment to our residents to help make every community a safe place to work, play, learn and build a life.”
At the news conference Wednesday, Emanuel and McCarthy also credited the officers now on the street with a 20 percent reduction in crime for August and the first half of September 2011, compared with 2010.
In that period, homicides dropped by 31 percent, shooting incidents by 21 percent, and aggravated batteries by 18 percent, according to the mayor’s office.
“District law enforcement is vital to responding to community concerns and it is imperative that we utilize all of our resources in the most efficacious manner possible,” Supt. McCarthy said in a news release. “The additional officers we are announcing today will go a long way to ensuring responsive police service and for solving and preventing crime.”
These latest reassignments will bring to 881 the number of officers returned to beat patrol since Emanuel took office in May. Many have been reassigned from desk duty, and on Tuesday, the mayor’s office said three of the six officers assigned as bodyguards to retired Mayor Richard M. Daley would be placed back on the street.
But some critics have complained that adding officers to the street is insufficient.
“And let’s not play this game, ‘more officers on the street,’” Shields said last month. “We need more officers, period, because there’s a lot of work that’s not getting done.”
Shields says the department is down 2,300 officers, “and the citizens of Chicago are now feeling that every single day in their neighborhoods.”
The FOP has also taken the city to task for plans to cut $190 million from the police budget, which would largely come from eliminating vacant positions.
The Chicago Sun-Times contributed to this report, via the Sun-Times Media Wire.