CITY HALL — A budget revision put forth by progressives and backed by some of the City Council's stronger law-and-order aldermen would enable the city to hire 500 more police officers.
According to Ald. Scott Waguespack (32nd), the budget proposal, submitted by Ald. Roderick Sawyer (6th) as an ordinance Wednesday, would allow the city to hire an estimated 500 more cops.
"Which would still be keeping us short of the total number of officers we think we'll need that have been lost to attrition or retirement," Waguespack added.
Waguespack said $50 million would in part be drawn from money designated under Finance General in Mayor Rahm Emanuel's proposed 2014 budget.
"They basically have some funds sitting there to the tune of about $18 [million] to $20 million that they can't really account for," he said.
They would then draw from the $70 million budgeted for police overtime next year to hire officers to cut down the need for that overtime. The Fraternal Order of Police union has supported the call for more hiring.
While submitted by council progressives, the proposal was immediately signed by Aldermen Brendan Reilly (42nd), Howard Brookins Jr. (21st), Tom Tunney (44th), Michele Smith (43rd) and Willie Cochran (20th), a former Chicago cop. Reilly too has repeatedly sounded the call for more police on the Magnificent Mile, as has Tunney in Wrigleyville.
Waguespack said he expected the issue to come up in additional budget hearings as the council seeks to pass a 2014 budget later this month.
"We will continue to meet with aldermen to discuss their ideas on public safety and explain the strategies being deployed by the Police Department to reduce crime across the city," said Finance Department spokeswoman Kelley Quinn. "The strategic use of overtime allows us to maximize every dollar available toward that effort."