Is more cops the answer? Chicago certainly thinks so.
The Windy City just announced plans to add nearly one thousand new officers to its police force. That figure will be comprised of 516 officers, 92 training officers, 200 detectives, 112 sergeants and 50 lieutenants, for a total of 970 new hires.
The city’s seen a dramatic uptick in shootings recently, both involving officers and not. 2016 has already seen 500+ homicides, more than all of 2015, and is on pace to break the 600 mark for the first time since 2003. The total number of shooting incidents has climbed above 2,500, which is ~20% more than the number at the same time last year.
The benefits of hiring of a massive extra force is, hypothetically, two fold. First, the CPD will have the manpower they desperately need to keep up with the crime spikes. In particular, the amount of solved homicides has dropped drastically this year, given the increase in detective’s workloads.
Beyond that, the current force is currently racking up huge amounts of overtime to fill the gaps in manpower -- $100 million annually, in fact. And beyond being expensive, tired officers make mistakes. The thinking goes, a more rested officer will be a better officer.
How this is all going to be paid for is another matter. Initial estimates put this massive hiring spree at over $130 million a year, which doesn’t completely wipe away all that overtime, either. And this for a city that’s been in financial trouble for years, currently struggling to keep even some basic public services afloat.
But when asked about the financial burden of his plan, Mayor Rahm Emanuel declared, “[Chicago] will have the resources.”
Financially able or no, the plan sounds risky. Do you think more cops is the answer?