There was a meeting of the Police Board this morning. Here’s some of what I said.
There can be no real dispute with Chief Joe Mokwa’s belief that keeping neighborhoods safe must be one of our highest priorities. The City and this Police Board endorsed the chief’s plan last year to reduce crime. We are seeing the results this year. Crime is down dramatically.
But, we need to keep crime down — and to concentrate even greater effort on the City’s most challenging crime trends.
That why Comptroller Darlene Green, President Lewis Reed, and I — working with senior members of the Board of Aldermen — are preparing to ask City voters to support a sales tax early next year to pay for more officers in the streets patrolling our neighborhoods, more competitive police salaries, and a stronger police retirement system.
Most people understand the need for more and better paid officers. The need to fix the pension system right now is less obvious.
I’ll make it simple: If we don’t adequately address their pension situation with new revenue, the shortfall in their pension system will eat up money that would otherwise be available for more officers and for better pay.
A slightly higher sales tax will do many of the things the Chief wants done.
Nothing is finalized. I’ll tell you the details when we’ve worked them out.