Police Chief Rahm Emanuel
The department’s culture and unionization could be limiting the effectiveness of Emanuel’s decision to beef up the beat patrol. Eli Lehrer, president and co-founder of the think tank R Street, says the department is resistant to change. A high percentage of officers do desk jobs, and Emanuel has made departmental changes that will require many of them to take up patrol work. “You may have people who haven’t really worked on the street, haven’t really responded to 911 calls in years, suddenly thrown into new roles,” he says. “And they may be having trouble adjusting.” Further, union contracts can make it difficult to lay off employees who aren’t equipped to meet the requirements of the mayor’s new policy.