Chicago is expected to pay $93 million in police overtime this year. | Michael Kappel | Flickr
Chicago is expected to pay nearly triple the amount budgeted for 2013 police overtime costs.
The Chicago Police Department’s overtime spending will hit $93 million this year, Police Supt. Garry McCarthy said during a budget hearing before the City Council Thursday. McCarthy estimated the force has already burned through $70 million so far.
According to the Sun-Times, the actual police overtime budget for the year was $32 million, two-thirds of which the department exhausted in just the first three months of the year.
Several aldermen and the Chicago Fraternal Order of Police, the officers union, have repeatedly called for the city to hire more officers. Meanwhile, Mayor Rahm Emanuel and his top cop insist it’s cheaper to spend on overtime than it is to hire more “full-loaded” officers with benefits.
Ald. Ricardo Muñoz (22nd) and others pressed McCarthy over the “out of control” overtime pay as an indication the department is woefully understaffed.
According to NBC Chicago, McCarthy said staffing levels are sufficient, saying “we are meeting with attrition and staying with it.”
McCarthy said current staffing levels are at 12,538 police while Mike Shields, FOP president, tells NBC the number is a few hundred bodies off with only 12,125 officers.
A Tribune analysis of U.S. Census data and FBI stats says Chicago still has the most cops per-capita among the nation’s five largest cities, but has fewer civilian office workers to support them compared to cities like New York. In his promise to add 1,000 new officers to the force, Emanuel reassigned many officers on desk duty to beat assignments.
Other points mentioned during the hearing were the use of “moonlighting” cops for special events, city regulation of cell phone re-sellers to curb black market sales of stolen phones and McCarthy’s refusal to accept patrolling help from state police.