The union says the move is meant to give officers more time with their families, but some critics see it as a way for police to make a point at the expense of the people living in violent neighborhoods.It's the classical activists' dilemma: the only thing worse than having a police presence in the 'hood is having no police in the 'hood.
It is turning into a war of words between the powerful police union president and one of Chicago's most respected religious leaders, and it all comes on the heels of Chicago recording its 492nd homicide of the year, more than New York and Los Angeles combined.
Chicago has already surpassed the total number of homicides from last year, having just ended the bloodiest August in nearly two decades.
"I guess I expressed my anger a little stronger than I would have liked to, but I can`t tell you how much it disturbs me for the president of the Fraternal Order of Police to be telling police to not take overtime on a weekend we traditionally have an enormous amount of violence," [South side priest Michael] Pfleger said.But, despite the hotel tax and the pop tax and the higher property tax and all the other ways the Combine fleeces residents, finding additional payroll in the budget is hard.
"We agree on one thing and it certainly isn`t where I should spend eternity," said [union president Dean] Angelo. "We need more policemen."
Angelo says the police force is down to 12,000, with fewer than 900 detectives investigating hundreds of homicides and more than 2,500 shootings.
“It’s less of a change in strategy and more of a response to this incredible streak of gun violence. By doing this, we hope to begin to get control of the gun violence that seems to grow all the time,” [alderman Pat] O’Connor told the Chicago Sun-Times.But there's a startup package for new police officers.
“We have a large number of police officers retiring and a big increase in crime and people demanding more cops. We’re not gonna be able to keep up with attrition with the current numbers. We need to put more officers on the street.”
O’Connor refused to say how the hiring blitz would be paid for at a time when Chicago faces a $137.6 million budget shortfall, the city’s smallest in a decade.
But, he argued that there is room to maneuver, now that Emanuel has identified dedicated funding sources to put all four city employee pension funds on the road to financial health.
Last year, the City Council approved a $588 million property tax increase for police and fire pensions and school construction. Last week, [mayor Rahm] Emanuel’s handpicked Board of Education signed off on a $250 million property tax increase for teacher pensions.
On Sept. 14, the City Council will be asked to put the final piece of the pension puzzle in place — by approving Emanuel’s plan to slap a 29.5 percent tax on water and sewer bills to save the Municipal Employees pension fund, the largest of the city’s four pension funds.
For years, many aldermen have been criticizing Emanuel's policy of using cops on overtime to flood troubled neighborhoods when violence flares. They have unsuccessfully pushed the mayor to hire more officers, with the administration contending it's more cost-effective to use overtime because that doesn't push up benefit costs.Downsizing has long worked like that, whether it's downsizing induced by market forces, or by tax pressures.
Ald. George Cardenas, 12th, said the city needs to go beyond hiring only enough officers to replace those who are retiring, as has been done in previous years.
Fringe benefits affect the relative costs of regular and overtime hours. They play a key role in determining the equilibrium employment and hours, and the speed at which employers adjust employment to equilibrium. Increases in fringe benefits in recent years induced employers to schedule considerable overtime while simultaneously laying off workers.Sound theory is sound theory; perhaps there's a public economics Ph.D. candidate looking for a thesis topic?