As Chicago elections approach, Police Superintendent Jody Weis's proposal to shift more officers to crime-ridden areas has reignited an intense debate among aldermen, says the Chicago News Cooperative, writing for the New York Times. Black aldermen, many representing high-crime wards, said the extra help was long overdue; white aldermen vowed to fight any shift of officers, fearing a crime rise in their areas.
“This is common sense,” said Alderman Anthony Beale, chairman of the Police and Fire Committee. “When you have rapes, murders and assaults, you have to move resources.” Police officials say overall crime has dropped for the last 22 months, but a flare-up of violence – including the killings of three police officers – shook the city over the summer. Weis must manage an ever-leaner department. As of mid-October, there were 11,187 police officers, a drop of more than 400 since 2005. Budget officials have said that police hiring will probably not keep up with retirements next year. Staffing is based on finding the right number of officers to respond to calls while maintaining a visible presence and sticking to a budget.