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Emanuel touts 53 more cops on street

Mayor Rahm Emanuel

Mayor Rahm Emanuel | Sun-Times file photo

Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced Sunday that 53 new cops are hitting the streets as part of his pledge to add 1,000 new officers.

“It’s the first downpayment in 2018,” Emanuel said at a news conference at the Harrison District police station on the West Side, where several of the officers will be deployed.

To complete Emanuel’s hiring plan by year’s end, a new batch of officers will begin working each month of the year.

The department has increased its ranks by more than 600 officers so far, police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said Sunday.

The hiring surge is the police department’s largest since the mid-1980s and marked a shift away from relying on police overtime.

“Our No. 1 purpose here on the West Side of Chicago is to reduce the violent crimes that happen in our communities, and the announcement today will give our officers another tool in our toolbox to combat this crime,” Ald. Michael Scott Jr. (24th) said Sunday.

Putting more officers on the street is expected to help combat the city’s alarmingly high number of homicides. Last year, 664 people were slain within city limits.

Even though the number represented a 15 percent decrease from 2016, it still dwarfed larger cities like New York and Los Angeles, where 2017 homicide tallies stayed under 300.