Earlier this month, the Chicago Sun-Times published an article, “Chicago’s deadliest neighborhoods get greenest cops,” which revealed that the “six police districts with the highest total of murders and shootings this year have the most rookie officers.”
Reporters Mick Dumke and Frank Main based their reporting on analysis of police deployment data.
“At the same time, officers assigned to four lowest-crime districts in the city — downtown, on the North Side or the Northwest Side — have, on average, the most years with the police department,” the Sun-Times found.
Police on the West Side’s 11th and 15th Districts have, on average, less than 10 and between 10 and 13 years on the force, respectively. By comparison, officers working in the 1st and 18th Districts, which include some of the city’s lowest crime rates and toniest real estate, have between 17 and 20 years on the force, the Sun-Times analysis discovered.
Critics of this discrepancy, which Dumke and Main said has grown since Mayor Rahm Emanuel took office in 2011, argue that it “leads to higher turnover, limiting officers’ ability to get to know the communities they’re serving.” Critics also note that younger, less experienced officers may “be quick to react to a negative situation rather than de-escalate.”
Ald. Nick Sposato (38th), “whose Northwest Side ward doesn’t see as much violent crime,” the Sun-Times reporters note, said that younger cops could be beneficial to crime-fighting in high-crime areas because they’re in better physical shape. The experience, the alderman added, may also allow younger cops to learn more about policing.
“Do you want a guy who’s 50 years old and 30 pounds overweight, or the young guy who’s built like a brick house? […] If a 25-year-old kid goes to the [slowest districts] right out of the academy, he’s not going to learn as much.”
Read the full Sun-Times article at chicago.suntimes.com/.