CHICAGO (CBS) — Chicago Police Supt. Garry McCarthy found himself in the line of fire Monday, because of his decision to move more officers to patrol duty.
Following McCarthy’s speech to the City Club of Chicago, forum moderator Paul Green of Roosevelt University read a written question from Chicago Fraternal Order of Police President Michael Shields.
“Now I’m reading this – I’m merely the messenger. Here we go,” Green said before he began reading Shields’ question. “‘How can you expect police to truly be proactive and bring curfew violators to safe havens when the department is short over 2,300 officers? Can you admit that the CPD has a manpower problem?’ That’s called a sandbag.”
McCarthy said he simply did not agree with Shields’ contention.
“So, the answer is no, I can’t admit it, because I don’t believe it. Sorry, Mike,” McCarthy said, “and I didn’t want to have these conversations in public.
Since Mayor Rahm Emanuel took office, and McCarthy took the helm as police superintendent, hundreds of officers have been returned to beat patrol. Many have been reassigned from desk duty, and some were even reassigned from their posts as bodyguards to retired Mayor Richard M. Daley.
But Shields has said reassigning officers to the street is a “shell game,” and what really needs to happen is for more officers to be hired.
This past summer, Shields said the department was down 2,300 officers, “and the citizens of Chicago are now feeling that every single day in their neighborhoods.”
McCarthy says more officers on patrol prevents crime, and makes them more responsive to neighborhood concerns.