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Emanuel City Council Ally Nixes Bid to Hire 500 New Chicago Cops

(Chicago) – The Chicago City Council Budget Committee on Monday killed a proposed amendment to Chicago’s Fiscal Year 2014 budget to hire hundreds of new police officers.

The amendment, tabled by Budget Committee Chairman Carrie Austin, would have allocated $25 million to hire 500 new police officers. The measure would have taken $10 million from the City’s General Fund and $15 million from the police overtime line item for the police hires.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel opposes the idea because the extra hires would add to the city’s pension burden.

The parliamentary move by Austin, an Emanuel ally, prevents the whole City Council from debating and voting on the amendment.

In 2013, Chicago police officers will likely log more than 1.34 million hours of overtime, at a cost of $93 million. At the same time, the City hired about 740 new police officers this year, 100 percent of whom replaced retiring members of the force. There was zero percent growth in the size of the CPD.

“We are disappointed at the Budget Committee’s failure to pass this amendment,” said 22nd Ward Ald. Ricardo Muñoz.

“The current rate of overtime pay, which hovers at about 10 percent of the overall police budget, is fiscally unsustainable and irresponsible. It creates a structural problem that the City will now fail to address for another year,” stated Muñoz.

“The level of violence in our communities is unacceptable,” said 2nd Ward Ald. Bob Fioretti.  “While hiring more police won’t solve our problem of rampant street violence in and of itself, it is clear that our current force does not have the resources or manpower to keep our streets safe right now,”

In addition to Muñoz and Fioretti, the budget amendment sponsors include: Roderick Sawyer (6), Toni Foulkes (15), Leslie Hairston (5), Howard Brookins, Jr. (21), Brendan Reilly (42), Tom Tunney (44), John Arena (45), Nick Sposato (36), Scott Waguespack (32), Willie Cochran (20), and Michele Smith (43).

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