Police Department – Move Sworn Officers to Non-administrative Positions

Savings: $300,000

In June and July 2011, the administration announced that it has increased the number of officers on the street by approximately 750.[1]  A significant part of this increase is due to the shift of 189 officers from administrative positions to street duties.[2]  These efforts are in addition to the efforts of the prior administration, which in 2010 announced the shift of 201 officers from administrative positions within the police department [as opposed to CPD officers “detailed” to other departments like Law and the OIG from the CPD’s “detached services” division] to street duties.[3]  A review of police operations in July 2009 resulted in the movement of 168 officers from administrative positions and an additional 33 officers were re-assigned in June 2010.[4]  Despite these actions, a substantial number of officers appear to remain assigned to administrative positions.  The table below details the number of officers in administrative positions by section in the 2011 City budget.


Number of Positions

Total Salary

4248 – Human Resources



3284 – Administration-Patrol Services



4066 – Administration-Detective Division



4723 – Police Field Services



4634 – Administration-Special Functions



4249 – Medical



3005 – Departmental Administration



3604 – Administration-Bureau of Professional Standards



3228 – General Support



4625 – Administration-Traffic



3235 – Research and Development



4084 – Administration-Organized Crime



3425 – Office of Management and Labor Affairs



3016 – Administration-Administrative Services



3241 – Administration-Investigative Services



3258 – Police Operations



3236 – Professional Counseling



3259 – Police Administration



4323 – Compliance Administration



4722 – Record Inquiry and Customer Services



3426 – News Affairs






Note: In this analysis, sworn officers were defined as positions with titles of police officers, sergeants, and lieutenants.

Assuming that the 189 officers re-assigned from administrative positions in June and July 2011 were among the positions in the table above, there remain 42 sworn officers assigned to what appear to be administrative sections.

Under this option, the City would re-assign the sworn officers in these 42 administrative positions to operational positions and fill the administrative positions with current civilian employees.[5]  If these 42 positions were re-assigned to vacant operational positions and civilians replaced the officers in these positions, the City would achieve savings even if the civilians were paid the same salaries for these positions because the fringe benefit costs for sworn officers are significantly higher than for civilians.  Assuming that the 189 officers re-assigned had average salaries when compared to the group of 231, then the total salaries of the remaining 42 positions equals $3.5 million. The table below shows the estimated difference in fringe benefit costs when these positions become staffed by civilians.

Fringe Benefit Costs

Sworn Fringe Benefits (assumes 43% of total salary)[6]


Civilian Fringe Benefits (assumes 35% of total salary)[7]




Thus, the conversion of these sworn positions to civilian positions would result in a savings of almost $300,000.[8]  Paying the civilians who replace the sworn police officers in these positions less than sworn police officers would constitute additional savings.

Proponents might argue that re-assigning sworn officers to operational positions is critical at a time when it is widely reported that there is a shortage of officers on the street due to vacancies and officers on medical leave.  Others might argue that filling administrative positions with sworn officers is an inefficient use of resources given the more expensive fringe benefit costs of sworn officers and the large up-front investment in law enforcement training that is not being used or is not required of their present administrative assignments.  Further, because of restrictions posed by the collective bargaining agreement, proponents of this option may argue that supervisors may more flexibly manage civilian employees than officers.


Opponents might argue that while many of these positions may appear to be in administrative tasks, sworn officers can fulfill these responsibilities better than civilians.  Sworn officers have a superior understanding of the rules and regulations that officers operate under and are more likely to be seen as authorities by fellow officers than civilians.


Budget Details

Dept: Police Department, 57 Bureau: NA
Fund: Corporate Fund, 0100 Approp Code: Salaries and Wages – On Payroll
The appropriation is located on page 145 and the position schedule begins on page 147 of the 2011 Annual Appropriation Ordinance.



[1] City of Chicago. “Mayor Rahm Emanuel Announces Additional Measures to Ensure the Safety and Security of People Across Chicago.” July 27, 2011.


[2] On June 12, 2011, it was announced that 150 officers were shifted from administrative duties to district positions.  On July 17, 2011, it was announced that 92 officers were moved to beat duty.  Of the 92 positions, 53 were recruits graduating from the police academy.  The remaining 39 positions are presumed to be realized from moving officers from administrative duties to beat positions.

City of Chicago. “Mayor Emanuel, Superintendent McCarthy Announce 150 More Police Officers.” June 12, 2011.


City of Chicago. “Mayor Emanuel and Superintendent Garry McCarthy Announce the Deployment of Additional Police Officers to Communities Across Chicago.” July 17, 2011.


[3] City of Chicago. “Mayor Daley announces 130 more police officers on the street by mid-July.” June 2, 2010.


[4] Id.

[5] This assumes that there are civilians within the Police Department or in other City departments who are available to fill these positions.

[6] City of Chicago. Office of Budget and Management. “Budgeting for Public Safety: Police Department.” June 25, 2008.

[7] City of Chicago. Laborers Union Arbitration on Recycling Privatization. Exhibit 2 Cost Comparison.

[8] These savings may grow in future years due to increases in the salaries of police officers.  However, this increased savings is dependent on how the salaries of the civilian replacements will grow in relation to the salaries of police officers, and this is in turn dependent on which union the civilian replacements belong to, thus it is difficult to estimate precisely how the savings would grow in future years.