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Chicago to add almost 1,000 police to beleaguered force

By Eliott C. McLaughlin, CNN

Reinforcements are coming to a violent Chicago.

As a major part of a plan to combat crime — including the city’s worst homicide rate in decades — the police department said it will be adding nearly 1,000 positions to ranks.
The hires, which will take place over two years, will include more than 500 new patrol officers and 92 field training officers to help train the new recruits, Superintendent Eddie Johnson told reporters Wednesday.

There will also be promotions for existing officers, with 200 new detectives, 112 new sergeants and 50 new lieutenants, he said.

Johnson said the major hiring boost comes after a meeting a few months ago with Mayor Rahm Emanuel, who helped Johnson build a plan to improve the department’s strength.
They call it Chi-Raq for a reason “Let me tell you, people — the mayor delivered for us,” Johnson said.

End all, be all? Unlikely

Neither Johnson nor the Rev. Michael Pfleger — a priest known for his voluminous criticism of Chicago’s violence, unemployment, underperforming schools, gun proliferation and lack of economic development — believe the hires represent a panacea for the city’s crime.

“The violence in Chicago is not a police-driven problem, and it’s not just for the police to resolve,” Johnson said Wednesday. “We need the police, the community, elected officials, clergy — everybody has a vested interest in resolving the crime issue in Chicago.”

Johnson said he is already seeing some positive changes.

“Listen, we didn’t lose trust overnight. We didn’t, so we’re not going to gain it back overnight. But I think some of the things that we’re doing in the last few months have shown the people of Chicago we are trying to be transparent and we are trying to get their trust back.”


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