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The Chicago Police Department will add 970 officers over the next two years, Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson said Wednesday.
Johnson's announcement comes as the curtain raiser to a much awaited speech by Mayor Rahm Emanuel on Thursday unveiling a plan to combat the horrific violence that has engulfed many parts of the city. Adding more cops is one facet of that plan.
"The shootings and gang violence hasn’t been this intense in a long time", Johnson said during a press conference. "I am announcing new hiring initiatives to execute a crime strategy and protect the people of Chicago."
Violence in the city has continued to mount. More than 3,000 people have already been shot this year, with homicides topping over 500. August alone produced 90 homicides, making it one of the bloodiest months in the city's history.
"We have to do better," Johnson said. "I owe you a department strong in numbers."
The new hires include: 516 officers, 92 field training officers, 200 detectives, 112 sergeants and 50 lieutenants, according to Chicago Police Department Spokesman Anthony Guglielmi.
The new positions will be on top of officers the force will lose to attrition, Johnson said. Hundreds of officers are expected to retire in the next few years but that "has nothing to do with our plan," Johnson said. "The force will go from 12,500 to 13,500."
The creation of these new law enforcement positions also come in the midst of Emanuel's mass overhaul of the city's police oversight agency after the LaQuan McDonald scandal. A Chicago's inspector general issued a damning report recommending that 10 officers be fired or disciplined related to the 2014 fatal police shooting of McDonald.
The mayor and the city's police force received harsh criticism of their handling of the matter after a video was released showing Chicago police officers shooting McDonald, an unarmed African-American man.
Emanuel proposed to abolish the city's Independent Police Review Authority and replace it with the Civilian Office on Police Accountability, which will be allotted more power for rigorous investigation of police misconduct.