CHICAGO (CBS) — Mayor Rahm Emanuel and CPD Supt. Eddie Johnson welcomed a new class of graduates from the Police Academy Tuesday, which is all part of an ongoing plan.
Johnson used the graduation of 209 new officers to reiterate Emanuel’s pledge to put 1,000 more officers on the street by the end of next year. “You are living proof of this effort, and we’ll continue to bring in nearly 100 new recruits into the academy each month until some time [at] the end of 2018,” he said.
According to the City of Chicago, the graduating class includes 199 new police officers and celebrates the promotion of ten command staff.
The mayor told the graduates they’ve had state-of-the-art training and will get state-of-the-art technology and resources on the job, as well. “Starting this January, superintendent and I helped changed the law in Springfield, after decades of fighting for it. For repeat gun offenders, they will now serve the time for their crime — that is a dramatic difference backing up our officers.”
Additionally, the program to equip each officer with body cameras by this year’s end is also on track. CPD announced Tuesday the 3rd and 16th districts are the latest to receive body-worn cameras in the continued rollout.
“Today, we celebrate the continued progress of our two year hiring plan at our latest graduation ceremony, as well as our sustained investments in technology,” said Johnson. “This next generation of officers and supervisors, utilizing the latest technology and training, will be a crucial part of our effort to make Chicago safer and rebuild trust with the communities we serve.”
Since the beginning of 2017, 903 new recruits, 52 lieutenants, 142 sergeants, 270 detectives and 119 field training officers have entered the Academy, the City said.
The hiring effort comes as the department has struggled to fight a significant increase in violent crime this year. The city already has surpassed 500 homicides this year, more than all of 2015, and is on pace for nearly 700, a total not seen in Chicago since 1998. Shootings also have skyrocketed, with more than 3,000 people wounded in shootings in 2016, compared to approximately 2,980 all of last year.
According to published reports, the cost of hiring a police officer is $138,000 in the first year; including salary, benefits, and supervision. Hiring 970 officers would cost $134 million in the first year. At least part of that cost could be covered by reducing overtime, which has spiked in recent years. The city paid out more than $116 million in police overtime last year.