Jody Weis, the current superintendent of the Chicago Police Department who all of the major mayoral candidates want replaced, is forcing those seeking the mayor's chair to preemptively react to an officer redeployment plan he is expected to unveil soon. Some police districts, Weis told aldermen last fall at a city budget hearing, "have an additional number of police officers above and beyond what analysis has proven they actually need. So we can move some of those officers to a district where analysis has shown they need some more."
Officer redeployment talk places Rahm Emanuel, the mayoral frontrunner, in a particularly awkward position. The current police deployment strategy, which hasn't changed since 1978, is nowhere mentioned in his crime platform. Presumably, the North Side police districts that overlap with the 5th Congressional District, which Emanuel formerly represented in the U.S. House, would lose officers under any redeployment plan. In rejecting any shift of officers last Sunday, Emanuel compared Ravenswood (the location of the Emanuel family home) and Roseland (on Far South Side). "[B]oth communities face a crime problem and require us in public life to find solutions that unite us, not divide us," he told the Tribune. "That is why I don't believe in pulling police out of one part of the city and moving them to another." Instead, he'd try to add 1,000 more officers on the streets, by removing some for desk duty, hiring 250 with tax increment financing dollars (a move that may not pass legal muster), and other means.
Last year, the 5th police district, which includes Ravenswood, recorded 394 violent crimes through November 2010 while the 19th, covering Roseland, tallied 1,549 over the same time period, according to the latest district breakdown (PDF) posted to the CPD website.
The public safety strategies of Emanuel, Carol Moseley Braun, and Miguel del Valle are all online. Gery Chico's is still to come. But all of them are likely waiting to hear what Weis will say about shifting officers. Ald. Anthony Beale (9th Ward), chair of the City Council police and fire committee, has yet to schedule a hearing about that pitch.
UPDATE (12:18 p.m.): We updated the post to clarify how the Emanuel campaign proposes deploying more officers.