The Chicago Police Department is down hundreds of officers despite pledges by City Hall to boost the force to combat growing violent crime, reports the Chicago Tribune. Police Superintendent Jody Weis, facing criticism over rising homicide rates, promised aldermen to expand the department by 75 officers. City Hall has not approved department requests to hire enough officers to keep up with retirements and other attrition.
With retirements, firings, and resignations, the department is down 250 officers and could be down more than 400 officers by the end of the year, said Mark Donahue, president of the Fraternal Order of Police, the union representing patrol officers. The department has lost about 375 officers and hired only 125 since the beginning of the year. After years of declining violence, homicides in Chicago rose 18 percent through July, compared with the first seven months of 2007. Donahue said instructors at the police academy have been told there will be no new hires for the rest of the year.