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Mayor Proposes 500 New Police Recruits For Next Year


The new cadets screamed as they pinned down and handcuffed each other at the Chicago Police Academy on Tuesday while Mayor Rahm Emanuel watched.

“Get on the ground. Arms out,” the cadets shouted to each other.

The Chicago Police Academy added 457 recruits this year, and Emanuel now wants to add another 500 next year as part of his proposed $8.3 billion budget announced earlier this week.

Cadets at the Chicago Police Academy honor a fallen police officer. (Photo by: Kaitlyn Cubacub)

The academy has 57 new sergeants, the largest class in six years.

“Your leadership is going to be essential,” Emanuel told the sergeants while visiting their training at the academy. “You are the most important element into making that happen. We’re doing exactly what we need to do.”

The new students will maintain the current strength of the department and account for attrition, said Melissa Stratton, Chicago Police spokeswoman.

The mayor’s police budget for personnel would increase $16 million in 2013.

The mayor’s proposed budget has no new tax or fee increases.

Chicago Police will now be at full strength with 457 new recruits and will surge year-round overtime instead of just weekends in the summer.

Steve Devito, 45, a city worker who has lived in the Bridgeport neighborhood on the South Side for 45 years, said the city needs additional police.

“The more police the merrier.” Devito said. “Police are good for the environment, you feel safe when you see them. It deters crime.”

Carl Adams, 71, retired and living in Bridgeport for 50 years, said the community has seen an increase in crime in recent years.

“I think the police are doing the best they can.” Adams said. “We have a new breed of gangbangers and they’re picking this area so the more police that can prevent that the better.”

A police recruit stands at attention during a ceremony at the Chicago Police Academy. (Photo by: Kaitlyn Cubacub)

But Raymond Jackson, 24, who lives in Englewood, said police need to do more with the officers already on the force.

“Two weeks ago I saw a shooting on 67th and the police didn’t get there for two hours,” Jackson said. “There’s a police station five minutes away.”

Natassia Baldwin, 21, a student at Malcolm X College, doesn’t believe that adding 500 new officers will fix the crime problem.

“Some officers here don’t do their jobs,” Baldwin said. “I see them break up a fight and then just leave.”

Baldwin said that adding more cameras around the city and officers that follow through on the job would be a better solution.

Eva Quiñones, Jessica Lang, Kaitlyn Cubacub contributed reporting.


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