CHICAGO (CBS) – The first batch of Chicago cops being pulled off desk duty are slated to hit the streets this weekend.
That can’t come soon enough for Police Supt. Garry McCarthy, who said in an interview on the CBS 2 Morning News that it’s “very, very frustrating” that improvements in violent crime in Chicago are frequently followed by backsliding.
McCarthy said the shooting of eight people over last weekend came after a drop during the week.
“Sometimes you can do all the right things, and we’re not getting the exact results we want. We will continue to refine our strategies,” he said.
That refining includes the transfer of 200 officers from desk jobs to street duty, starting with 60 officers this weekend. Of those, 30 will be moved to Area Central, and 15 each will go to Area North and Area South. All of those officers will join so-called “area saturation teams,” which flood a neighborhood after violent crime.
“The first was to get the first 60 out the door as quickly as possible, once we identified them. That’s why we put them into the area saturation teams, to give us a little bit of latitude as to how to use them,” McCarthy said.
The superintendent said the move should give district commanders “geographic accountability” and allow officers to follow the fluidity of gang movement.
The redeployment comes after Chicago saw more January homicides than it had since 2002 – most prominently, Hadiya Pendleton, a 15-year-old honors student and school band majorette who had performed at President Barack Obama’s inauguration.
Hadiya was shot and killed at a Kenwood neighborhood park, while standing with about a dozen schoolmates under a canopy to shelter themselves from the rain. Police have said it’s believed someone mistook a person in that crowd for a rival gang member, and opened fire, killing Hadiya, and wounding at least one other teen.
McCarthy said it was especially frustrating to see January’s spike in murders, after a December that saw a big drop in violent crime.
“We were setting records, now we went the other way,” he said.
The rest of the officers that will be moved from desk jobs to the streets will be redeployed by the end of March.