Reporting Craig Dellimore
CHICAGO (CBS) – Police Department overtime spending might be reduced substantially by the fall, but Mayor Rahm Emanuel said extra patrols in high-crime areas will continue.
WBBM Newsradio Political Editor Craig Dellimore reports the mayor does not deny the city has gone well over budget for police overtime, which has provided money for increased patrols in high-crime neighborhoods.
The Sun-Times calculated the city has spent more than $42 million on police overtime pay through May to beef up police patrols in high-crime areas – putting overtime spending more than $10 million in the red.
Emanuel told WBBM he’s not worried about the overtime spending.
“I focus on the fact that overall crime has probably dropped the most in four decades – which is 15 percent,” he said.
The mayor also said the Police Department’s “Operation Impact” — which uses increased patrols that rely on overtime — has helped bring homicide numbers down from last year.
“I look at our homicide rate; we have had 76, 75 fewer victims,” he said.
The mayor said, perhaps by mid-September, the Police Department won’t need as many officers working overtime in those areas, as more officers on regular duty will be added to the streets.
“That’s a reflection of how many police are being put through our cadet program. We’ll have over 600 new police officers hitting the street this year, because we’ve been keeping – for the first time in the city’s history – up to level in recruit … graduating our cadets.”
The mayor said the city already budgeted for those new officers, so it won’t cost the city any extra to put them on the streets after they graduate from the police academy. While those new recruits won’t replace every officer working overtime in high-crime areas, they will replace most of them.