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Here's How Many Officers Are Patrolling Your Neighborhood

By Heather Cherone | April 17, 2017 3:48pm | Updated on May 2, 2017 3:28pm
 Stats on how the Chicago Police Department deploys its officers previously have not been shared with the public.
Stats on how the Chicago Police Department deploys its officers previously have not been shared with the public.
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Creative Commons/Isadora Ruyter-Harcourt

CITY HALL — There are 12,051 sworn members of the Chicago Police Department — and thanks to the city's inspector general, residents now know where they are assigned.

The quarterly report issued Monday by Inspector General Joseph Ferguson includes never-before-released data about the number of officers assigned to each of the city's 22 police districts and more than 77 special units, including the narcotics division or marine operations unit.

The data released Monday comes as the inspector general's office prepares to play a much more active role in scrutinizing police misconduct investigations and the discipline imposed on officers.

The full City Council is expected Wednesday to approve criminologist Laura Kunard to be Chicago's first deputy inspector general for public safety based on Ferguson's recommendation.

The regular release of data by the inspector general "will seek to establish a shared baseline understanding of the operations of CPD such that, whenever appropriate, stakeholders inside and outside the Department have access to accurate data to inform their work and discussions," according to the watchdog's report.

Spokesmen for the Police Department did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the release of the data by the inspector general.

However, the Police Department's standard practice has been to decline to discuss where officers are deployed or how those decisions are made, citing the need to keep law enforcement strategy confidential.

About 60 percent of the Police Department's officers are assigned to one of 22 police districts, according to the data provided by the inspector general.

The other 40 percent of officers are assigned to specialized units that are charged with a specific mission or duties, including the canine unit and detectives bureau.

Most officers are assigned to patrol the South and West Sides, where the majority of crimes in Chicago are committed, according to the data.

For example, the Harrison and Englewood police districts on Chicago's West and South sides are home to about 5 percent of the city's population — but nearly a quarter of all crimes in 2016 took place there, officials said.

Those two districts have the highest number of officers — 888 — assigned to patrol them, accounting for 12 percent of the total number of officers assigned to Chicago's police districts.

The Shakespeare district — which includes Logan Square — has the fewest number of officers of any district.

However, that strategy means that districts like Jefferson Park on the Far Northwest Side — which, at 36 square miles, is the biggest in the city — have fewer officers per person, a source of frustration for many residents who fear they will be targeted by criminals who know most officers are stationed on the South and West sides.

In the next two years, Emanuel has promised to add 970 positions to the Police Department: 516 police officers, 200 detectives, 112 sergeants, 50 lieutenants and 92 field training officers. The department also has said it will fill 500 vacant positions.

The new officers will be deployed based on a statistical analysis compiled by a consultant based on crime data, calls for services and district geography, Chicago Police Supt. Eddie Johnson said in October, adding that the Police Department had not done an adequate job of staffing all districts while struggling to cope with violence in the city, leaving a "back door open in good neighborhoods to property crime."

Police Department representatives Monday did not respond to a question about the status of that study.