Emanuel, McCarthy Double Number of Police Bike Patrols | NBC Chicago
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Emanuel, McCarthy Double Number of Police Bike Patrols

The number of officers on bikes will increase from 200 to 400, and the current bikes will be replaced with new ones

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    The Chicago Police Department has doubled the number of officers on bike patrol and pledged to diversify the police force as it gears up for the next police exam in February. NBC 5's Mary Ann Ahern reports. (Published Tuesday, Aug. 4, 2015)

    Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced Tuesday that the city's police department has doubled the number of bike patrols and expanded them beyond the downtown area.

    The number of officers on bikes is increasing from 200 to 400, and the current bikes have been replaced with new ones.

    "Expanding CPD bike patrols is our latest step in getting police officers out of cars to interact and develop relationships with the people we serve," Chicago Police Supt. Garry McCarthy said. "These state-of-the art bicycles will aid in crime fighting by allowing officers to be more nimble and responsive to neighborhoods." 

    Chicagoans will see the bikes not just downtown anymore, but also in neighborhoods like Englewood.

    Last fall, Emanuel added $2 million in his budget to increase the number of officers on bike patrols in the neighborhoods.

    "This isn't just an increase in the number of officers on bikes, this is an expansion of our community policing philosophy," Mayor Emanuel said. "Bike patrols are about getting more officers out of their cars and into our communities, making our streets safer while building trust between officers and the residents they serve and protect." 

    As the new bikes enter the force, McCarthy also looks to increase the number of minorities in the department, which is gearing up for the next police exam in February.

    Currently, the department is 48.5 percent white, 27.5 percent black, 20.7 percent Hispanic and 2.5 percent Asian. That number does not represent the city's latest census figures, however.

    "You know what's happening across the country and how people are looking at policing right now. It's probably more important now that people step up and help us than in the past," McCarthy said.

    To attract a more diverse pool of recruits, the city has budgeted $150,000 for its outreach effort.

    The last time the police exam was given, in 2013, more than 19,000 people took that test, making a new record.

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