The Chicago Police Department announced Tuesday the number of detective areas in the city is expanding from three back to five in order to improve response times, particularly on the West Side.
Former Mayor Rahm Emanuel shuttered two of the original five.
Mayor Lori Lightfoot mentioned the plan in October, and a report from the Police Executive Research Forum recommended the expansion, saying it was challenging to effectively police large areas and respond in a timely manner.
Detectives in those areas can take between 60 and 90 minutes to arrive at a crime scene, Deputy Chief of Detectives Brendan Deenihan said at a news conference.
“By then many witnesses are gone and evidence has often been contaminated,” Deenihan said.
Patrol Bureau Chief Fred Waller said, “There are specialized gang and saturation teams that operate from CPD’s existing three detectives areas. The two additional areas will allow these teams to be even more responsive.”
Interim Supt. Charlie Beck said another aim of the expansion is to familiarize residents with detectives and patrols, especially in areas of the city with high crime rates.
“When you see somebody regularly and you know that you’ll see them tomorrow and the day after you tend to have much more faith in them,” Beck said. “Spreading detective resources more widely in order to facilitate building relationships is very important.”
Waller said many officers have been “quietly lobbying” behind the scenes for the expansion.
The two new areas are expected to open by April 1, Beck said.