Crusader Staff Report
Two old detective bureaus will reopen and put 151 cops back on the street under Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s plan that will create a new department and merge operations currently done between the Chicago Police and Fire Departments and the city’s 911 center.
Lightfoot’s budget director Susie Park said Chicago police, fire, and the Office of Emergency Management and Communications each currently do their own payroll, information technology work and human resources. Those functions will be consolidated under a new Office of Public Safety Administration.
The new public safety office will have 280 civilian staff from the finance, human resources, IT and logistics divisions. They will be based at police headquarters in Bronzeville, the mayor’s office said.
Lightfoot will reopen the Harrison Area bureau on the West Side and Grand Central Area bureau on the Northwest Side to boost collaboration by detectives and patrol officers, the mayor’s office said. Currently, the city has three detective regions known as Area North, Area South, and Area Central.
Under the new plan, which have to be approved the City Council, 11 uniform fire personnel also would go back on the street, the mayor’s office said. If approved, the bureaus will open in May 2020 in time for traditionally violent summer months.
“Our police, firefighters and emergency responders work together day and night to protect their fellow residents, and through these reforms, we’re building a unified and collaborative public safety system to ensure Chicago’s first responders have the resources and supports they need to better keep our communities and residents safe,” Lightfoot said in a statement.
Lightfoot Chief of Staff Maurice Classen said the department over the years filled civilian jobs with police officers when the hiring process was too slow. That led to there being numerous cops doing civilian jobs instead of working on the streets.