CHICAGO — Mayor Rahm Emanuel has tentatively endorsed a new Inspector General report saying almost 300 police positions could be filled by civilians.
The report, issued Wednesday by the office of Inspector General Joseph Ferguson, suggested "civilianizing" 292 Chicago Police Department jobs dealing with travel arrangement, data entry, nursing, graphic design, accounting, timekeeping and grant writing.
"Doing so would not only save the city money, but it would also allow CPD to redeploy these and possibly other sworn officers to other high-priority missions," Ferguson said.
"Chicago taxpayers have invested heavily in ensuring that CPD officers receive specialized law enforcement training. Using it to arrange travel or handle media requests doesn’t comport with best practices or common sense," Ferguson said.
Emanuel said his administration had already overseen a thorough analysis of police clerical positions and had redeployed more than 560 officers. "We put them out on the street, reassigned them in our neighborhoods and our communities to patrol," Emanuel said.
"I welcome any report that says there's another 100, 200, 300, 150 additional officers that you can move from administrative office positions back onto the streets protecting our neighborhoods," he added.
Emanuel said he had instructed his staff to work with Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy and First Deputy Al Wysinger to "look at it and scrub" the report's recommendations and and study it for any "contractual issues" but otherwise follow its goal to "take police officers and move them into the areas of fighting crime, not into the areas of moving paper and pushing paper."
The IG report projected between $6.4 million and $16.6 million in annual savings, even if civilians were hired at the same base salary, "due to both the more generous fringe benefits that sworn officers receive, as well as the non-salary compensation provided to sworn officers."