City Hall lifted its two-year slowdown in hiring just a day after off-duty Chicago Police officer Michael Bailey was killed in what officials believe was a robbery, the Chicago Sun-Times reported. Plans are underway to add as many as 100 additional officers.
Sadly, Chicago criminal defense attorneys have no shortage of new clients as the city grapples with an escalation of violent crime. The slaying of Michael Bailey, who was less than one month away from retirement, marks the third killing of a Chicago officer in two months.
Mark Donahue, president of the Fraternal Order of Police, said the department is simply understaffed:
"The manpower situation in the Chicago Police Department is bad. Guys are out there every day telling us they have to wait for backup. And we're advising them to wait for backup for their own safety."
A former high-ranking police officer, who asked to remain anonymous, said felons no longer fear the police. The hiring slowdown has left the department understaffed by more than 2,000 officers. But Mayor Richard Daley said he found a way to pay for the additional officers in a time of record budget deficits.
The mayor knew slain officer Michael Bailey personally and described him as "a wonderful guy." He had just finished his shift guarding the mayor's town house in the South Loop and was cleaning his car outside his Park Manor home when an apparent robbery gone wrong left him dead.
Officer Thor Soderberg was shot dead on July 7 outside an Englewood police building and Officer Thomas Wortham IV was killed on May 19 by three men who were trying to steal his motorcycle near his parents' Chatham home.
Statistics say Chicago's streets are getting increasingly dangerous for officers, with reported incidents of assault and battery nearly doubling in 2008 from figures reported in 2003.