CHICAGO (CBS) -- CHICAGO (CBS) – At City Council budget hearings on Thursday, some aldermen were angered that Police Supt. Garry McCarthy could not immediately tell them exactly how many officers are currently on the force.
WBBM Newsradio Political Editor Craig Dellimore reports Ald. Ricardo Munoz (22nd) is one of several aldermen who have said the city should hire more police officers, but he was frustrated when he asked McCarthy how many cops are on the job right now, and the superintendent said he did not have the precise figures.
"That's why I said I want to get them right, and we'll get them to you," he said.
That drew the ire of Munoz, who said he was "offended" the superintendent came unprepared to provide specifics on staffing at the department's budget review.
"How can we have a conversation about staffing levels if the superintendent doesn't have the numbers?," Munoz said. "It's a trick not to have the conversation in public and I, for one, feel offended."
Ald. Willie Cochran (20th), a former police officer, said he couldn't believe McCarthy was asking aldermen to wait another day for answers about staffing.
"For people to come in here, and talk about they don't have the right numbers, is bull; is absolutely bull," he said. "Every one of those bureau chiefs that sit up here know better than to go to their superintendent, and prepare him for a meeting like this, and not have the right numbers."
After a lunch break, McCarthy was able to provide specifics, saying the department has an authorized strength of 12,533 sworn officers, and 587 vacancies.
Cochran also complained about the number of minorities in the upper ranks of the force, which has been a common bone of contention for aldermen, as the department has long been heavily white.
McCarthy said the department is currently 64 percent Caucasian, 18 percent African-American, 15 percent Hispanic, and 2 percent Asian. According to the 2010 Census, the city is 45 percent white, 33 percent black, 29 percent Hispanic, and 5.5 percent Asian.
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