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When the City of Chicago announced it was closing the Chicago Police Department’s 13th District/Wood Street Station and merging it with the 12th District to form the 12th District/Near West, citizens in the 13th District were assured that the closed district station would not affect policing and there would be “more officers on the street.” 

Contrary to assurances, the staffing levels of the 12th District/Near West have fallen precipitously. In an attachment to a letter dated Nov. 8, 2011, sent by Supt McCarthy to the Chicago City Council, he estimated that there would be 524 officers in the merged district (294 from the 12th District and 226 from the 13th District).

In the above referenced article, at the time of the merger the Mayor confirmed that there were more than 500 officers in the 12th District/Near West.

Now, 32 months later, there are just 329 officers of all ranks. This represents a loss of more than 171 officers, or 34+ percent -- a mere 35 more officers than were in the former 12th District pre-merger.

The 12th District/Near West has long since passed a point where our officers and command staff can do more with less. Our safety, and that of officers, is at great risk.

As citizens who have seen their property tax bills increase by 25-50 percent, or renters who are feeling that increase via raised rents, we demand to get our fair share of police services before the increases in our crime rates match that which we’ve seen on our tax bills.

To begin to restore a proper police presence in the 12th District/Near West, we respectfully request that our Aldermen work with the Mayor and Supt Eddie Johnson to do the following:

• Add a net of 25 officers to the 12th District/Near West by December 31, 2016 for a total of 354 officers;

• Add another 25 by June 30, 2017 for a total of 404 officers, which will return the District to the August 16, 2014 level (per at July 28, 2014 FOIA request);

• To temporarily boost the number of officers on the street during peak crime hours, offer 12th District officers the opportunity to work overtime on 1st Watch on Saturday and Sunday and 3rd Watch on Friday and Saturday;

• Return all officers currently detailed out of the 12th District/Near West for Summer Mobile and Bike Patrols;

• Stop detailing officers to other districts to cover for special events unless it is on their regular day off; and

• Extend free health benefits for officers citywide that are 55 and have 20 years on the job for an additional three years (age of 58) to encourage veteran officers to stay preventing a mass exodus in the next year giving CPD time to train new officers to take their place.

We, the undersigned, strongly believe these are exceptionally reasonable requests and ask that each of you – aldermen who represent citizens that reside, own businesses or work in the old 13th District/Wood Street --immediately begin working with us to achieve these 12th District/Near West staffing objectives.

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