Another influx of new police officers coming to 16th District





by BRIAN NADIG

An unspecified number of additional police officers will be assigned to the 16th (Jefferson Park) Police District later this year, and at least one area alderman has suggested that a city income tax could be implemented to help pay for more officers citywide.

Earlier this summer the district received 13 new police officers, but three of them have transferred, and the district has fewer officers now than it did at the start of the year due to attrition. The district has a total of about 185 police officers but in the early 2000s the total was about 270.

“This is a retirement district,” district Commander William Looney said. “They’re going to get us first to break even and then above even.”

Looney said that he has not been given a specific number of officers expected to be assigned to the district but that he anticipates the first group to be recent recruits and then a second group of more experienced officers who will be allowed to bid into the district.

Chicago police Superintendent Eddie Johnson recently met with Northwest Side aldermen.

“We have been guaranteed a large number of POs assigned to the 16th District in October, then another large number of POs assigned to 16 in December. We were also promised that the bids into the 16th District will be quadrupled during the next bid period and will stay consistent the next couple of bid periods,” Alderman Anthony Napolitano (41st) said.

Alderman John Arena (45th) has called for Mayor Rahm Emanuel to honor a 2011 campaign pledge to hire 1,000 new officers, and Arena has said that the city could start paying for the new officers by reducing police overtime, giving officers well-deserved breaks from the job, according a recent published report. The Chicago Police Department has been managing its staffing shortages in part by allowing more overtime.

Arena also said that additional revenue could be generated by implementing a city income tax. The city would have to seek state authorization for an income tax before it could be implemented.

Arena’s chief of staff Owen Brugh said that a one-percent income tax, exempting the first $50,000 of income, would generate about $380 million. He said that New York, Philadephia and Denver are among the large cities which have an income tax and that many school districts in Iowa and some counties in Indiana also have an income tax.

An increase in shootings in Chicago this year has received national attention, prompting calls for more police.

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