Police Supt. Gerry McCarthy assured residents that the consolidation of two North Side police districts would be beneficial. McCarthy made his remarks at Lakeview High School during a community meeting on Nov. 15th.
McCarthy, along with five aldermen, explained the benefits of merging the 19th and 23rd police districts. The closing and consolidation of the 19th police district is part of a budget cut plan.
“Change comes hard,” McCarthy said, “There are two things people don’t like: the way things are, and change.”
The consolidation of the districts will create more efficiency in the police department and help reduce crime, McCarthy said. McCarthy said that the Chicago Police Department is lacking in structure and that compacting it will help it run more like a business.
“We want to do less and do it better,” McCarthy said, “So it has a greater impact.”
McCarthy said that the merging of these districts would put more officers on the streets. About 500 police officers would go from working behind desks to working beats said McCarthy.
“The commitment is to keep the cops where they are,” McCarthy said.
Alderman Tom Tunney (44th) said he supports the consolidation of the 19th and 23rd districts and that it’s an efficient way to improve the budget. Tunney said this is the first time the city has asked the police department for help with the budget.
“We can do more with less,” Tunney said.
Alderman Michele Smith (43rd) also said she supports the merging of the two districts as a budget cut. Smith said if more efficient processes were used in the city the budget would improve.
“Not every single one of those cuts is great cuts,” Smith said, “But I support many, many of them.”
Alderman Ameya Pawar (47th) told residents difficult decisions have to be made when planning a budget, but the consolidation of the 19th and 23rd police districts is best for the community. Pawar told residents that the merger would increase police patrols in the 47th ward.
“We will see more police officers on our streets,” Pawar said.
McCarthy said that the consolidation will phase in starting January 1, 2012.