CHICAGO (CBS) — Chicago is getting new resources to help keep the city safe. More than 300 new officers are graduating from the academy on Tuesday, and the department is adding dozens of new high-definition cameras in some of the city’s busiest areas.
In 2016, the mayor’s office announced a two-year plan to add 1,000 additional police officers to the force. With 330 recruits joining the ranks on Tuesday, the mayor’s office says a total of 960 new officers have been hired since the push began.
The new officers join a force of 13,500 officers, which has come under fire in recent years by local and national critics.
In a scathing report in 2016, the U.S. Justice Department ripped on the Chicago Police Department for poor training, and systemic civil rights violations.
Police Supt. Eddie Johnson said the new hires are change agents who are making one of the nation’s largest police departments better with each and every oath of office.
“With the full support of the mayor, myself, and the rest of the command staff, I want you all to know that we’re committed to putting reforms in place that will give you access to better training and additional resources to keep you safe and do your jobs to the bet of your ability,” Johnson told the new officers Tuesday morning.
The new officers will work with a training officer for up to a year now that they have completed training at the academy.
The graduation ceremony at McCormick Place comes on the same day the department announced 32 new high-definition cameras have been installed in the Near North District; which includes downtown, River North, Streeterville, Lincoln Park and the Gold Coast.
Some of those cameras were installed at the corner of Chicago Avenue and State Street, just above the Red Line station where a group of teenagers attacked three people on December 29. Five teens have since been arrested after images from surveillance cameras inside the station were released in a community alert.
Police said the cameras definitely helped officers make those arrests.