CHICAGO — The Chicago Police Department is calling for backup.
The department plans to hire nearly 1,000 officers to combat growing violence throughout the windy city. Chicago Police Commissioner Eddie Johnson announced the hiring plan to a group of his officers Wednesday afternoon.
"I owe you a department that is stronger in numbers, equipped for the 21st century, richer in skills and best practices to manage and challenge peacefully and honorably," Johnson said.
Officials said the reinforcements will include more than 500 field officers, about a hundred training officers, 200 detectives, more than a hundred sergeants and 50 lieutenants.
All the positions are in addition to the openings the city already has.
Chicago's police force already has about 12,500 members, and they've been busy this year. This year alone, there have been more than 500 homicides — compared to 491 in all of 2015.
"The shootings and gang violence haven't been this intense in a long time and there are a lot of factors in that," Johnson said.
At its current pace the number of homicides will top 700 by the end of the year, which would make it the deadliest year for the city in two decades.
It will take at least two years to hire and train all of the new recruits, and it won't be cheap. The city is spending $134 million to get the cops to the streets, but when it comes to curbing the growing violence in the city, the additional officers could be priceless.