Chicago's top cop addresses range of topics at first budget hearing

More police officers, more equipment and more accountability.

Those were all promises made by Chicago Police Supt. Larry Snelling during his first round of budget hearings as the city's new top cop.

Tuesday was the City Council's first chance to question Snelling about how he will apply the $1.99 billion dollars Brandon Johnson has slated for the Chicago Police Department in 2024. That's about 3 percent higher than the police budget under Lori Lightfoot.

"We're equally committed to reform and making progress in every facet of this department," said Snelling.

He and his staff fielded questions from members of City Council on a wide range of priorities, from handling the city's influx of migrants, to bolstering the department with 400 new civilian positions, putting more officers on the street, adding 100 detective positions, and bolstering the crime victim services unit, which gives more resources for survivors of gender-based violence, sexual assault, and human trafficking.

"I want survivors of crime to know that we are with you, and we'll always seek justice for you," said Snelling.

He was also grilled on a recent WBEZ/Sun-Times report, which alleged that several CPD officers have ties to the extremist group The Oath Keepers. He vowed to investigate and root them out.

"Once those investigations have been completed, and due process is served, and we find that we have members amongst our ranks who are members of hate groups, we will do everything that we can to remove those members from our ranks," he said.

With carjackings still a major problem, Snelling also said CPD plans to add more officers to the vehicle hijacking task force, and buy two new helicopters by the end of next year.

"These are just a few examples of the work that the CPD is ready to do and the work we'll continue to do as the guardians of this great city," said Snelling.

Snelling said the mayor's proposed budget also allows the department to staff domestic violence personnel in every Chicago police district, and create its first Equity and Inclusion Division.