The Chicago Police Department is currently involved in a nationwide effort to recruit police officers, but the city continues to suffer from a serious “officer shortage.” Various officers have recently retired or transferred to smaller departments, leaving Chicago with 1,600 fewer police officers.
As noted by the city’s CBS affiliate, police officers from Chicago are not only “retiring in record numbers,” but many of them are also “leaving the big city department for smaller ones.”
As a result, a widespread “officer shortage” has emerged, and several leaders across the city believe that this shortage will worsen before improving.
Police officers across Chicago have faced multiple issues over the years, including mandatory overtime, remarkably long hours, and generally low pay, which have all been cited as reasons for transferring or leaving the police force entirely.
Alderman Anthony Beale of Chicago’s 9th Ward also remarked that police work is a thankless job, and that “the police don’t want to be the police.”
Beale also notes that the Chicago Sun-Times inaccurately reported that only 1,066 vacancies needed to be filled, 877 of which are designated for “sworn officers.”
“People fall to realize last year we wiped out 614 vacancies [from] last year’s budget,” Beale remarked wryly, adding that the force is truly down by 1,600 officers, not roughly 1,000.
Despite the best recruiting efforts of Chicago’s police academy, numerous individuals are unwilling to become police officers.
For instance, Police Supt. David Brown recently revealed that 5,000 individuals applied to Chicago’s police academy in the past year, relative to approximately 30,000 individuals in previous years. In addition, Beale also believes that fewer than 100 individuals are presently in the police academy for Chicago, with only 50 percent anticipated to graduate.
As the police shortage accelerates, crime has risen across the city. Currently, Chicago is suffering from a major spike in crime, with WBEZ reporting last month that murders across the city have started “outpacing any year in a quarter-century.”
Per unofficial estimates, over 3,000 individuals have been shot, while over 600 have been killed. In the past year, almost 800 people have been murdered, per reports from the Chicago Sun-Times.