As of midday Friday, fewer than 60 officers had signed up, Fraternal Order of Police President Michael Shields told NBC Chicago.
Shields cited a departmental policy that stipulates that officers get just 10 weekends off annually without having to work either day.
The Chicago Police Department currently has about 12,000 officers to cover a city of roughly 234 square miles. The "Violence Reduction Overtime Initiative" called for 60 extra officers, with an eventual move to 120, Shields explained.
CPD spokeswoman Melissa Stratton declined to comment on the program.
"As you're probably aware, we don't give out details of our deployments," she said, adding that the department is "supplementing its existing patrol in communities throughout the city, including the near north side."
Throughout the last three years, Shields said the department has hired 250 officers. More than 1500 have retired during that same period.
"The city of Chicago and the police department are clearly admitting that we have a manpower problem if they're willing to hire officers at time-and-a-half," he said. "Chicago police officers can't be everywhere. Because they're racing from one 911 call to the next, and with manpower as it is right now, it's very difficult to deter crime."
The "Violence Reduction Overtime Initiative" began Thursday, and officers were able to sign up to work Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays, and Mondays on their regularly-scheduled days off and scheduled furlough days.
But in order to be considered for the program and get the time-and-a-half pay, officers needed to meet certain goals in terms of the number of tickets written and arrests made.
It's not known how long the program will go on, but McCarthy said there's room in the budget for it.
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