Rahm Emanuel ‘Reassigning Desk Cops’ to Combat Violence

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel claims to have found “200 more cops at desks” who will be reassigned to the streets: “To do what I think is a key component, which is to reduce gun violence and gang activity, before a flame becomes a fire. To put it out.”


In 2011, Chicago had the 6th highest murder rate of all cities over 500,000 population (out of 34). Of cities over 1 million population, Chicago ranked 2nd after Philadelphia (out of 10).

Which brings up some questions:

  • Considering Chicago’s perennial competition as “Murder Capital of America” when does the “flame” become a “fire”?
  • If these cops aren’t needed for administrative work, what were they doing at a desk?
  • How many other cops are on “desk duty” who could be out protecting the public?
  • Will Emanuel reduce his own security detail to put more cops on the street, or does he think he’s so much more important than the People of Chicago?

According to the latest available FBI data, Chicago had 12,092 full-time officers in 2011, or 4.5 officers per 1,000 population. Obviously, some of these officers were on desk duty. A Sun-Times article notes that Chicago hasn’t had a police entrance exam since 2010, and only plans to hire 500 officers in 2013. In any case, Chicago PD is 5% short of the 9,641 beat officers they’d like to have. This means that over 2,900 officers are on desk duty (FBI count minus the assumed 9,159 current beat officers).

Assuming three shifts per day, this means Chicago fields about 3,053 officers per shift, making the very best assumption that no officers are stuck in court hearings, sick, on administrative leave for using their service weapon, or on vacation. This means that on any given shift, there’s one officer per 1,000 population.


Alderman Bob Fioretti accused Emanual of balance Chicago’s budget by “eliminating more than 1,400 police vacancies.”

“We have an over-arching gang problem that keeps expanding every time we turn around. The murder rate is going up. Auto theft and bank robberies are going up.

Meanwhile, Chicago still has the strictest gun control laws in America, and Emanuel and his police chief Garry McCarthy insist it’s just “gun violence” as if the two are synonymous. Both want far more federal gun control than currently exists.

But why bother changing failed policies as long as nobody demands you stop blaming inanimate objects and start taking responsibility?


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