McCarthy Lays Out Changes In Police Districts

Updated 03/04/12 – 11:29 a.m.

CHICAGO (STMW) — For the first time in decades, the Chicago Police Department is trimming the number of district stations from which its officers are based.

But Superintendent Garry McCarthy, in a news conference Saturday, promised that better policing will result.

“We feel that we’ve right-sized the districts as far as the number of officers that need to be there,” said McCarthy during a news conference at the Town Hall District station, at 850 W. Addison St., into which the old Belmont District is being merged.

The immediate changes, effective at 12:01 a.m. Sunday, trim the number of district stations from 25 to 23, while the patrol and detective areas will be trimmed from five to three.

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s Bob Roberts reports

Two more districts will be merged this fall, when a new, high-tech combined district station is completed.

The changes could save the hard-pressed city as much as $12 million a year, but McCarthy said that is not what is driving the consolidation.

As a result, McCarthy said, he now can assign 80 more officers to the street, a number that will increase to 100 when the final two district consolidations take place.

He said that will allow the department to assign the officers to the same beats on a daily basis — allowing them to become better acquainted with the beat, its people and its challenges.

In the consolidation, only one police station closes completely — the 60-year-old Prairie Avenue building, at 300 E. 29th St.

Most of the Prairie Avenue District is becoming a part of the Wentworth District, with the Central and Deering Districts also taking pieces.

McCarthy acknowledges the worries of those who live near the Prairie Avenue station, but said they will prove to be unfounded.

“First of all, the officers don’t respond from the station house, like, for instance, firemen do,” he said. “The second thing is consolidating these districts, we didn’t just pick this out of thin air.”

McCarthy said the new beat, district and area lines are based on today’s crime statistics, not those of the distant past.

As recently as 2007, then-Supt. Phil Cline said he did not believe the redrawing of beat lines was worth the trouble.

McCarthy begs to differ.

“This is creating more efficiencies across the department,” he said.

And to those officers who will be working a beat instead of shuffling papers?

“It’s easy to swing into a Monday-Friday 9-to-5 type of existence,” he said. “The point is that’s not the way police work works. Criminals don’t work Monday through Friday 9-to-5, and we need to take every resource we canto put them on the street when we need them to prevent crime from occurring.”

He said it will upset some officers’ lives.

“If you want to do banker’s hours, you should be a banker, quite frankly,” he said. “Don’t be a policeman.”

(Source: Sun-Times Media Wire © Chicago Sun-Times 2012. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

  • Lesss

    In the same home for 34 years, now I’m in a new aldermadic ward and a new police district. I love Chicago however these unwanted changes are enough to make a person consider a different retirement city.

  • Frank

    In reviewing the comments made by Supt.McCarthy, I find them ridiculous. All that is being done is taking the officers from 19 and placing them in 23 district. Now those assigned to 23 from 19 will be back patrolling that area. So exactly what was done to achieve these chamges, NOTHING!. Recently, McCarthy said there were no homicides in the city for just 1 day. Reason no homicides? McCarthy said “There were more officers on the street.” NONSENSE.

  • tom sharp

    Here’s a novel idea: put some honest cops on the beat and maybe crime will go down for real instead of your phony Crime stats quoted here. Look at today’s blogs at least 5 shootings and other mayhem.

  • Pamala E.

    Tom Sharp, level of honesty within the ranks isn’t the issue with stopping crime. But if you have some ideas to stop the shootings, please share.

    • tom sharp

      Obviously you don’t read these blogs on a regular basis. There are almost daily reports of dishonesty depicted here and anyone with any sense knows that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Cops commit crimes and their partners and other officers help cover it up; thus they are all culpable (too big a word for you?). Grow up and stop viewing the TV cops as reality. The sad reality is the average cop is as stupid as the average gang banger. The proof is on every street corner in the ghetto; go see for yourself.

      • FTC

        WOW little tommy, you have all the answers,. Why don’t you run for office. I’m sure you could straighten it out in no time at all. We imp;lore you to use your intellect for the Greater Good. Save us little tommy. It’s your destiny.

      • FTC

        Sorry about the semi colon. Please forgive me little tommy. Be merciful.

  • Pamala E.

    Culpability, I understand. And my knowledge of policing is vast, I don’t need to watch police shows. What I didn’t see were your tips on stopping the shootings, which I’m sure were gathered from your many years of policing. You sound as though you speak with some level of authority. Share, please.

    • tom sharp

      The problem has gone too far too long to be fixable, but it wouldn’t take a rocket scientist to reduce crime significantly (and really reduce it, not the phone stats presented by Rahm and top cop). I’m retired, when I worked for CPS I had to go to virtually every ghetto school in the city to audit the use of Chapter I (Poverty) funds. That was in broad day light. I would regularly see gang bangers selling drugs on the corners within a block of the schools. Once I got so angry that I went up to the guy and yelled at him, he laughed at me lifted his sweat shirt and revealed a gun. I went into the school (I think it was Dunbar Voc.) and reported it to the police officer sitting in the hall way drinking coffee. He didn’t even pretend to do anything. What conclusions do I draw: the cop was 1) too scared to act, 2) on the gang banger’s payroll and too corrupt to act, or, more benignly, 3 just too lazy to act. The big picture here is that at least dozens of high school dropouts with IQs in the 90s or lower can effectively run and grow a multimillion dollar criminal enterprise employing 10s of thousands of street workers right in front of the police with almost nothing being done. These are the guys responsible for close to half the shootings in this town and any 12-year-old can point them out. Any cops in an unmarked car could easily arrest a dozen of these punks a day. Even in Chicago carrying a unregistered gun, being in possession of drugs, selling drugs, etc. is illegal. In addition, there are curfew laws that, if enforced (ask top cop why they aren’t) would keep a lot of these punks off the streets at night and hold their “parents/guardians” responsible. I can only conclude, as I did above , the average cop is either lazy, stupid, corrupt or a combination of those traits. The obvious solution would be to get more educated, honest cops in stead of the bunch of war vets and other muscle men that come into the force wanting only to boss people around and make a quick buck on the side. To the smart, honest cops out their I apologize and express my deepest sympathy, but you must know you’re in the minority.

  • Pamala E.

    The belief you have that officers are lazy, stupid or corrupt just isn’t true. Officers hired beginning in the early 90’s were required to have some college to be hired and many earned degrees prior to their hiring. Several have earned advanced degrees since joining CPD. So this is probably the most educated CPD has ever been. However, I’m not convinced that education and honesty have anything to do with each other. Lack of honesty is a moral issue not educational. Even with the background check there is no way to guarantee the honesty of new hires. I’m not sure what evidence you have that the veterans were anymore corrupt than those with college degrees. Some veterans have college degrees, so how would they be classified? As for the officer you encountered in the school, it sounds like he was assigned as a school officer, who job it was to deal with issues within the school not a block away. Thousands of guns are being taken off the street every year and countless arrests are made for narcotics. These are issues that are being addressed across the city on a daily basis. Calls come out everyday regarding drug sales but you have to be able to find the drugs when you get there. Most drug dealers don’t carry it on their person, it’s either hidden or there is someone else holding it for them. There very well may be a lot of people that you believe are selling drugs on the corner. But it’s not just what you and other citizens believe, it’s what can be proven. There is a probable cause standard that must be met in court for drug arrests. If the probable cause isn’t approved by the judge the case is thrown out so it isn’t as simple as just grabbing someone off the corner. Additionally, officers on the street are tied to the radio, their primary responsibility is to respond to dispatched calls. In a busy district the radio is nonstop.

    • tom sharp

      So you think a bunch of dropouts can make $ millions many times over illegally and keep the “educated cops” with all of their “sophisticated” crime fighting gadgets gadets and resources at bay with corruption playing almost no part in it ??? GET REA!! I’m done with this silly debate.

      • Pamala E.

        @Tom, what I know is the realities of police work. Corruption within the department is being addressed whenever it comes to light that’s how you know about it.
        @FTC you may not want to hear how policing actually works but that’s the truth. Dope cases are tossed out of court everyday for a finding of “no probable cause”. It may not seem logical to you but stopping someone, on the corner, and finding drugs in their possession is not a slam dunk in court. You have to offer a reason for a stop & search. Or the case will be thrown.

      • FTC

        Doesn’t suprise anyone that you’re a quitter little tommy. Take your ball and go home.

      • tom sharp

        Hey FTC (too cowardly to print your name), at least Pamela had the decency to make a cogent argument; even though I think it fails the logic test. All you can do is call names like silly adolescent with no thoughts whatsoever. Grow up or shut up! You lose!

  • FTC

    Thank you little tommy. Are you one of the CPS employees responsible for the current state of education in Chicago? I sign FTC (my Initials) to every thing I post. Is your skin a little thin?

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