Mayoral challenger Sophia King resolves to deal with issue of police allocation on need basis

Mayoral challenger Sophia King vowed Thursday to tackle a serious issue that Chicago’s mayor has been avoiding for decades — by imposing more police officers where calls to service are highest.

Last year, a model designed by the University of Chicago Crime Lab called for a radical approach to the perennial demand to hire Chicago Police Department officers in violent areas in need of increasingly dwindling police resources.

The U of Sea’s selfless study of police manpower created a formula that took into account calls to service, total violent crime in the area, population, and the absence of retired officers.

Under the formula, based on those and other factors, veterans and rookies would be relegated immediately. Conclusion: Even after the recent wave of retirements, the CPD can staff high-crime districts to an appropriate level.

Mayor Lori Lightfoot and the superintendent of police he elected. Instead, David Brown chose a politically sneaky approach, which would take years.

Under that scheme, high-crime districts get more manpower as they graduate from the academy and complete 18 months of probation. It will take about two years to reach proper staffing levels in police districts on the south and west, where shootings and drug trade are at their worst.

King, who represents the Fourth Ward on the Chicago City Council, vowed to tackle the problem more boldly.

“We can have a more equitable distribution of police. Let’s start with this. Ensuring that the police are in the places they should be. Studies from the University of Chicago tell us that this is not the case. We need to look into that first. We also need to look at, perhaps, shifts and how we can get more office on beats immediately. Make sure they are in their neighborhood and not in the city,” King told the Sun-Times.

“We also know that 50% of calls to 911 are for nonviolent crimes. They are for social services, homelessness and mental health insecurities. We need to bring in trained people in those areas. …and we let the police focus on the things they are trained on.”

After a tidal wave of police retirements and disappointing turnout for police exams that once attracted thousands, the police department now has 11,762 officers, down from 13,353 before Lightfoot took over.

This year there are already 1,408 sworn vacancies after 814 retirements. This is compared to 973 last year and 625 in 2020.

To prevent mass migration, the king wants to implement a number of incentives and the same bonuses to teachers who are leaving in large numbers.

“I would take the same action with both. We need to provide them with incentives to stay in their communities. Whether it’s a tax break, a mortgage break, an interest rate break. There are so many different ways. We can reach that,” she said.

“We need to uplift both those professions – teachers and police – and make sure we have respect and stop putting everything at their feet. We need social services in schools. We need social service on the street. There is a need. We need more mental health responders. We need all the things we need to deal with some issues that those professionals are not really trained to deal with and should not be dealing with alone.”

Lightfoot balances its 2021 budget by eliminating 614 police vacancies.

Upon being elected, King said she would eventually seek to reinstate those vacancies. But, she said, filling the 1,408 oath vacancies should come first.

“We have seen the accident. We cannot live with the accident,” she said.

“It goes back to bringing that respect back. Humanizing that profession again. And making sure the police and teachers feel supported.”

King, the president of the City Council’s Progressive Caucus, also highlighted what she sees as Lightfoot’s broken campaign promise, claiming she shattered the lakefront political base that led to Lightfoot’s 2019 victory. was important to.

He notes that Lightfoot campaigned in support of an elected school board, only to contest for office once. Eventually a 21-member board was imposed on him by the state legislature.

It is the same with civilian police oversight, which King has championed and the mayor has been slow to implement.

King drew particular attention to the mayor’s broken promise to raise a real estate transfer tax on high-end home purchases to combat homelessness and create a dedicated revenue stream to help solve Chicago’s affordable housing crisis.

“It was a lack of leadership. We could have brought that home. The state was ready to help us for this. And we didn’t do it because of the tension and the controversy there,” Raja said.

“As a progressive we could have an additional $200 million [revenue] Clause for homelessness, for pension, maybe for racial redress.”

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