The Chicago Police Department is losing officers in droves to the suburbs and other states, prompting a vow from police Supt. David Brown to reassign sworn personnel from specialized units to districts to stop the bleeding, according to one Chicago alderman.
“He said they can’t keep up with it. It’s an explosion — not his exact words — but it’s an explosion of lateral moves right now that’s adding to the retirements and the people that are just leaving the job. Leaving by just quitting being a police officer,” Ald. Anthony Napolitano (41st), who’s served the city as both a police officer and firefighter, told the Sun-Times.
“They also have a small number of officers that are finishing the academy, getting on the street and saying, ‘I don’t want to do this’ and leaving.”
The department is more than 1,000 officers short of authorized strength — even after Mayor Lori Lightfoot balanced her 2021 budget by, in part, eliminating 614 police vacancies.
The apparent exodus to suburban and out-of-state police departments has exacerbated the staffing problem. So has a surge of coronavirus cases triggered by the Omicron variant that, at one point recently, left the 16th District with 72 officers out sick, Napolitano said.