--They should invest some of those millions into adding manpower instead of paying it out in overtime.--
Story at Chicago Tribune
By Kristen Mack, Chicago Tribune reporter
9:34 PM CDT, July 16, 2012
The Chicago Police Department could pay officers up to $14 million in overtime this summer as part of its plan to curb an increase in violence, a spokeswoman said Monday.
The money already was accounted for in the department's budget and mirrors what the city has spent on similar violence-reduction initiatives in previous years, said Sarah Hamilton, a spokeswoman for Mayor Rahm Emanuel.
Emanuel said this year's strategy is being directed in a more "targeted way" in the face of a nearly 38 percent increase in homicides in the first six months of 2012 compared with 2011. It's unclear what that means, however, because the administration declined to elaborate.
"We have the resources through better management to do what has always been done, but we're doing it in a more extensive basis and we're beginning to see results," Emanuel said at an unrelated news conference Monday. "But that said, not fast enough and not deep enough that I'm happy with."
Roughly 210 additional officers have been deployed Thursday through Monday as part of the overtime initiative, police spokeswoman Maureen Biggane said. In keeping with the department's practice not to release manpower or staffing, the department would not say where those officers were deployed.
Last month the department began giving some officers, sergeants and lieutenants the option of working on their days off for overtime pay as part of an initiative targeted at curbing the growing violence. Officers are paid time-and-a-half for overtime work. According to a department-issued memo obtained by the Tribune, officers can be assigned anywhere in the city.
Police brass takes into account neighborhoods beset by gang conflicts and also special events, such as last weekend's Pitchfork Music Festival, when deciding where to send more officers, an administration source said.
Also Monday, Emanuel said he has asked the city's comptroller and chief financial officer, who sit on the police pension board, to come up with a set of reforms to the Police Department's disability leave plan.
Nearly 350 Chicago officers are earning disability leave payments that total $18 million a year, even though some have gone on to other careers as lawyers, small-business owners and government employees, according to a Sun-Times series on the issue.
"It is there as an insurance policy of protection," Emanuel said of disability leave. "It is not there for a few bad actors to abuse and take down the system as a whole."