Aldermen Sposato and Napolitano report 16th District to get more police officers
by BRIAN NADIG
The Chicago Police Department has agreed to take measures to increase the number of police officers in the 16th (Jefferson Park) Police District from about 210 to 230, which was the number at the start of the year, according to area aldermen.
At one time last year the district had about 190 officers, and due to a personnel shortage, some beat cars on the overnight shift went unmanned or had only one officer instead of the standard two.
Alderman Nicholas Sposato (38th) said that the department corrected the situation earlier this year but that the district has not kept up with attrition, losing about 20 of its 230 officers to retirement or reassignment.
Sposato and Alderman Anthony Napolitano (41st) recently met with First Deputy Police Superintendent Kevin Navarro to discuss a plan that takes into account attrition.
“(At the meeting) we were promised a surge of police officers,” Napolitano wrote on his Facebook page. “More importantly, he agreed to opening the bids into our district for senior officers on a regular basis, something that the 16th District has not seen in years.”
District commander William Looney said that while all beat cars are being manned, problems arise when beat officers are taken off the streets to process an arrest or to complete an investigation. He said that the district can deploy more rapid response cars to fill in the gaps with more officers.
Currently the district has 36 officers who are being detailed out of the district, but whose official assignment remains with the 16th District, Looney said. Meanwhile, seven officers are being detailed into the 16th District from other units or districts, he said.
The ability to bring in more experienced officers should help the district to maintain its personnel levels, Looney said. In the past couple of years the district has experienced a significant increase in police academy graduates who are completing their probationary period, but they are often reassigned when that period ends, he said.
In the early 2000s the district had about 270 police officers. Despite the personnel shortage in recent years, the district ranks among the lowest in the city in terms of the number of reported crimes.