CITY HALL — A leading member of the City Council opposition said he doesn't see how the debate over the 2014 budget will lead to more cops on the street.
Ald. James Cappleman (46th) said over the weekend, following the shooting of a 14-year-old at Wilson Avenue and Broadway, that he and a number of aldermen "are insisting on a commitment of more police officers on the street before we vote on the 2014 City Budget," which is expected to be submitted to the City Council in October.
Fioretti said he was generally supportive of the idea.
"I voted against the last budget, and that was one of my concerns, that it didn't provide for enough police," he said. "Is it a reason to vote against the budget? It may be."
"Safety, security are top priorities in terms of moving the city forward," Fioretti added. "But so far, this has not happened under this administration. We do not have the safety and security in our streets."
Mayor Rahm Emanuel has boasted of adding officers to replace retirees, but has resisted calls to add to the Chicago Police Department, a position echoed Tuesday by CPD spokesman Adam Collins.
"The Chicago Police Department has more officers per capita than any major city in the country," Collins said. "We've moved hundreds of officers from behind desks to the streets, and our comprehensive strategies are making positive progress in the fight against crime."
Fioretti quickly added that the lack of adequate police staffing was a citywide problem and not unique to Uptown. He said the so-called violence-reduction initiative the Police Department has implemented to address last year's more than 500 murders has "stretched our resources to the max."
Lakeview residents have also blamed the violence-reduction initiative and the redeployment of officers for burglaries that have spiked in the neighborhood this year.
Fioretti said that, even though the Police Department budget would be a key part of Emanuel's overall 2014 budget, he did not expect safety concerns to derail the budget process. "That's not the sole issue," he said.
Emanuel is expected to submit his 2014 budget proposal next month. Preliminary figures have the city trying to overcome a $340 million shortfall on revenues of $3 billion.
Cappleman tweeted Tuesday afternoon that he was "out on Wilson saying hello to students as they leave school."