Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Does overtime amount to overkill?

Chicago Police Department officials have come up with a new scheme for increasing police patrols in parts of the city considered high-crime zones – it seems that existing cops will be asked to work more overtime.
JOHNSON: More overtime sted of more cops
Specifically, the department has increased the number of areas designated high crime zones from 19 to 25. Existing officers will be asked to put in extra patrol time.

AND IT ALSO seems they’ll be asked to do so in zones that already are in the police districts they’re assigned to.

Which makes a certain amount of sense in that officers will be putting in this overtime in areas of the city they’re already familiar with. As opposed to past measures that could have cops bopping all across Chicago in an attempt to provide increased police patrols without having to actually hire additional officers to watch the streets.

As police Superintendent Eddie Johnson said on Tuesday to reporter-types, “It should give us more productivity and promote more community engagement.”

Yet the part of news reports about this action that caught my attention were the explanations that this increase in high crime zones is meant to avoid having to do extra hiring of people to work as patrol officers.

BETTER TO PAY the existing officers a few extra bucks in order to get extra work out of them. Which makes me wonder if public safety officials are adopting the same mentality that too many newspapers are taking on – fewer people trying to do the same amount of work to cover the news and publish a paper.

All of which is meant to enhance a publisher’s bottom line financially. What is the city’s excuse in taking such a cheapskate attitude?

Particularly with regards to the public’s safety and protection?

Realize I’m writing a criticism of relying on overtime knowing full well that the cops themselves probably will see a bright spot in the idea – they can use the extra money.

HECK, MOST COPS I have ever known have had some sideline way of bolstering their official income.

Whether it involves taking extra shifts or doing security-type work during their off-hours, I can’t think of a single police officer I have ever known who relied solely on the income he or she received from his official salary in order to ensure they were capable of “covering their nut” (a.k.a., meeting their living expenses) in life.

But the basic concept of police work and providing adequate protection, particularly in a city as large as Chicago, involves a significant amount of manpower – or should I say person-power?

There’s only so few people the city can get away with employing before we have to wonder if there just aren’t enough citizens on patrol to adequately patrol the “mean streets” of the “naked city” (yes, I’m overusing clichés here).


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