As Chicago’s violence continues to gain national spotlight, the Chicago Police Department is reportedly shelling out millions of dollars in overtime payments.
The Chicago Police Department spent $21.3 million for overtime pay in April and May, putting overtime spending in a $10.5 million hole before the summer’s wave of crime, according to the Chicago Sun-Times reported.
Some of the funds spent went to officers working in “Operation Impact,” an overtime program that began sending 200 officers each night into 20 of the city’s most violence crime zones in February and doubled to 400 officers-a-night by March, according to the Sun-Times.
The numbers showed that the police department had already burned through two-thirds of its 2013 overtime budget within the first three months of this year.
The city reportedly argues that the hole will be filled by alternate revenues like property sales and a drop in police payroll expenses and Chuck Wexler, executive director of the Police Executive Research Forum in Washington, told the Sun-Times “Chicago had to do something different” to stop gang violence before summer began.
Fraternal Order of Police President Mike Shields reportedly called the measure a “Band-Aid solution to a major manpower problem” and said the problem can only be solved by more police hiring.
Chicago Police said the city saw a 25 percent drop in shootings and a 14 percent drop in overall crime in the first half of this year compared to the first six months of last year. Murders were also down by 29 percent, police said.
"Through a close partnership with the community and our comprehensive policing strategy there have been significant drops in murders, shootings and overall crime this year," Supt. Garry McCarthy said, "but it's progress and not victory because one shooting or murder is unacceptable."
Shortly after the numbers were released, the city recorded a bloody weekend with at least 12 dead and more than 60 others injured in shootings across the July 4 holiday weekend.
Chicago Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy released a statement on the weekend's violence stating "no shooting or murder is acceptable."
"While to date we've had significantly fewer shootings and significantly fewer murders this year, there's more work to be done and we won't rest until everyone in Chicago enjoys the same sense of safety," McCarthy said in the statement.