Budget proposal will not include more money to hire new cops - New York News

Budget proposal will not include more money to hire new Chicago cops

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CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -

Chicago's City Council is expected to vote on Mayor Rahm Emanuel's $7 billion budget proposal on Tuesday. But no longer includes money for the hiring of new police officers in the city.

Some members of City Council's police and fire committee wanted to come up with a way to hire more city officers within the budget constraints. Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy said in budget hearings that the department had to pay $93 million on police overtime in 2013.

Alderman Rick Munoz suggested spending the $25 million of that on new hires - to be put alongside more experienced officers – instead of spending all the money on overtime.

"The proposal was to take $10 million out of one part of the budget and take $15 million out of the $71 million proposed for overtime and use it to hire an additional 250 officers," Ald. Munoz told FOX 32 News.

Their proposal – a budget shift, not a call for new funds – did not pass in the budget committee. The budget director thought it would cost too much. Instead, the city is going ahead with a budgeted $70 million for next year's overtime.

Fraternal Order of Police spokesman Pat Camden told FOX 32 News by phone that hiring younger, less paid officers helps build the force. He also said too much overtime isn't good for police on the streets, and does not benefit their families or the citizens they serve.

Camden said the city will not benefit in the long run. All the hours on existing officers can take its toll.

"There's no reason why we should have all this overtime," Munoz said. "We need additional officers for the streets of the city of Chicago."

New cadets graduate from the police academy all the time, but that is only enough to keep up with attrition – with the number of officers retiring.

When U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder was in Chicago on Monday, he said that the federal government is committed to spending more money on crime-fighting in Chicago – that it is a top priority.

"The bottom line is, we don't have enough officers to keep our city safe," Munoz concluded.

There were also a few other items of note on Tuesday's agenda. The vote on the mayor's spending plan includes a cigarette tax increase.

Emanuel agreed on Monday to lower his proposed tax hike from $0.75 to $0.50. Even still, Chicago would have the highest tax per pack. The mayor's resolution regulating e-cigarettes may be introduced as well.

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