Mayor Rahm Emanuel is making one of the most important speeches of his political life as he talks at 6 p.m. about his new policies to combat crime before an friendly invitation-only audience at Malcom X College.

While many of the details are already known — his plan calls for hiring 970 additional police officers over two years — the political impact remains the key question.

How will he pay for the new cops without outraging already-strapped taxpayers?

How will address fatherless African-American homes without furthering alienating that community?

How will he mobilize Chicago police, who already feel under siege?

Here is the Sun-Times viewer’s guide to the speech and what to look for.

Here is the first-look story on the speech.

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