Ward Room
Covering Chicago's nine political influencers

McCarthy: No Clue Who Asked for 1,700 More Cops

City officials last year applied for a federal grant that would have allowed them to add more than 1,700 new police officers to the rank and file

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A question on page eight asked how many officers the department would like if no cap was in place. It's in that field that someone wrote the seemingly specific number of 1,779.

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McCarthy Responds to Grant Application

Chicago Police Supt. Garry McCarthy said Monday he has no idea who came up with the 1,779 number that appears on a federal grant application for more officers.
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Chicago Police Supt. Garry McCarthy said Monday he has no idea who came up with the 1,779 number that appears on a federal grant application for more officers.

"I don't know who made that determination. We're looking into it," Chicago's top cop said at his weekly showcase of the illegal guns taken off the streets.

The grant application was filed last year and was part of a program to hire military veterans. It was capped at 25 officers, but a question on page eight asked how many officers the department would like if no cap was in place. It's in that field that someone wrote the seemingly specific number of 1,779.

The city did receive federal funding in June of 2012 for 25 officers, and McCarthy insists he has enough officers to keep the city safe.

"The fact is we are adequately staffed," he said. "The fact is we're making progress, we're not declaring victory. We have intelligent strategies that we're using."

Nevertheless, the department is currently engaged in an overtime strategy with 400 officers working seven days a week, from 6 p.m. to 2 a.m, being paid time and a half. Already the department has spent nearly 70 percent of this year’s $32 million overtime budget.

McCarthy said it's cheaper for the department to pay overtime than to hire and train a new police officer.

Fraternal Order of Police President Mike Shields maintains the grant application and the use of overtime are admissions by the city that more cops are needed on the streets.

"They're not admitting to this being their number but obviously somebody at the Chicago Police Department and the budget office of City Hall came up with the fact that 1,770 officers is what's needed," he said. "The FOP, since Day One, has been saying that we're understaffed. ... The city continues to respond that we're lying and that's just completely false and this is certainly an admission that we're not."

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