About 1,000 officers could be eligible to retire in the next year if an arbitrator working on the contract between the police union and the city allows them to take a pay out and leave the force.
Even before the arbitrator’s ruling, the department has 600 sworn vacancies and is 2,000 officers short of authorized strength counting those on medical leave and limited desk duty each day, the Chicago Sun-Times' Fran Spielman explained.
"I am extremely nervous about the number of officers who may choose to leave based upon the fact the contract may be signed in 2010," Weis said, according to the Chicago Tribune. "We have to be prepared for that type of loss, and we hopefully will have a better idea of what that will be toward the end of the year."
Forty-six officers were hired in 2009. Mayor Daley's budget will add another 86, but 30 of them are reserved for the Chicago Transit Authority.
At a City Council budget hearing on Friday, aldermen demanded the ranks be replenished.
"We want these numbers filled and filled now. We'll find the funding for it. If we have to get rid of some of these other departments to fill these vacancies, we’ll do that," said Ald. Robert Fioretti (2nd).
Earlier in the hearing, Weis said the department is trying hire a consulting firm to study the possibility of realigning police patrol beats around the city.