Spending on Public Safety in the City of Chicago FY2023 Proposed Budget

October 14, 2022

The City of Chicago introduced the Mayor’s proposed FY2023 budget in early October, and the City Council will vote on a final budget in November. This blog post takes a look at what’s in the FY2023 budget proposal in the area of public safety spending. The Civic Federation is analyzing the budget as a whole and will release our complete analysis later this month.

The City of Chicago’s Public Safety departments include the following seven departments:

  • Police Department;
  • Fire Department;
  • Office of Emergency Management and Communications: operates the City’s 911 call center;
  • Office of Public Safety Administration: this office was created in FY2020 to consolidate administrative functions including human resources, IT and finance functions of the Police Department, Fire Department and Office of Emergency Management and Communications;
  • Police Board: makes decisions in disciplinary cases involving police officers;
  • Civilian Office of Police Accountability (formerly the Independent Police Review Authority): investigates allegations of police misconduct; and
  • Community Commission for Public Safety and Accountability: this office was created in FY2022 to provide community oversight of the Police Department pursuant to an ordinance passed by the City Council in July 2021.

Together, these offices make up the public safety program area within the Chicago budget. The other program areas of the City budget are: infrastructure services; finance and administration; community services; regulatory; legislative and elections; and city development. The graph below shows the amount of proposed spending for public safety compared to other program areas of spending in the proposed City of Chicago FY2023 budget across all local funds (excluding grant funds).

The three largest areas of spending in the City budget, each comprising approximately 20% of total appropriations in FY2023, are public safety, pension fund appropriations and General Financing Requirements. General Financing Requirements are cross-departmental expenditures including employee healthcare benefits, workers’ compensation, contractual services, legal judgment and settlement costs and information technology services. Because employee benefits and pension costs are budgeted separately from departmental budgets, these costs are not included in the public safety program appropriations.

Public safety, General Financing Requirements and pension funds each account for approximately $2.7 billion. Debt service accounts for 17.9% of the City’s proposed FY2023 appropriations at $2.4 billion. The cost of pensions, debt and other General Financing Requirements have grown significantly over the years, and now together make up the majority of the City’s spending.

Departments within the Infrastructure Services program make up 11.6% of the City’s appropriations, or $1.5 billion. The City spends a much smaller portion of its budget on the following program areas: community services; city development; regulatory functions; and legislative and elections functions.


Public Safety Appropriations

Within the program area of public safety, total appropriations have increased by 14.2% over the past five years, from $2.37 billion in FY2019 to $2.7 billion in FY2023. Appropriations for the public safety departments over this period are shown in the chart below.

The Chicago Police Department makes up the largest public safety department by far, with a budget of nearly $1.9 billion in FY2023 across all local funds (excluding grant funds). This represents 65% of all public safety spending. The Fire Department is the second largest public safety department, with a proposed budget of $704.7 million. The Fire Department represents approximately 26% of public safety spending.

The Office of Emergency Management and Communications (OEMC) and the remaining public safety departments account for a much smaller portion of public safety appropriations.

OEMC’s proposed FY2023 budget is $77.8 billion, which represents 2.9% of public safety appropriations. Appropriations for the Office Public Safety Administration have increased significantly since its inception in FY2020 to $134 million in FY2023, representing 5% of public safety spending. Police oversight departments in the chart below include the Civilian Office of Police Accountability, the Police Board and the Community Commission for Public Safety and Accountability, which are grouped together due to the small size of their budgets in relation to the other public safety departments.


The following table provides the line-item details for appropriations in each public safety department over the five-year period from FY2019 to FY2023. Public safety appropriations over this five-year period will increase by $336.9 million, with the largest increases occurring in the Police Department and Office of Public Safety Administration. The Police Department budget is proposed to increase by $184.0 million, or 11.6%. The Office of Public Safety Administration was established in FY2020 with an initial partial-year budget of $30.6 million. It has since increased annually. The Office of Emergency Management and Communications budget has decreased by 45.8% between FY2018 and FY2022, mainly due to a shift in a large number of Chicago Public Schools crossing guard positions that the City previously funded, but were shifted to the Chicago Public Schools budget in 2021.

As shown in the table, total public safety appropriations are proposed to increase by $35.0 million between the FY2022 adopted budget and the FY2023 proposal. The Police Department is proposed to increase by $28.2 million in FY2023, which is an increase of 1.6%, from the prior year. The Office of Public Safety Administration budget is proposed to increase by $17.0 million, or 14.5%, from FY2022. Each of the other public safety departments’ appropriations are proposed to remain fairly flat from FY2022, with the exception of the Fire Department, which is set to decrease from the previous year by $10.6 million, or 1.5%.


Public Safety Personnel

Public Safety accounts for the largest portion of personnel in the City’s budget, making up 59% of the total full-time equivalent (FTE) positions across all local funds. The Mayor’s FY2023 budget proposal includes a total of 20,625 FTE positions across all public safety departments. The Police Department represents the largest number of personnel, with 14,005 FTE positions proposed in FY2023. The Fire Department is budgeted for 5,134 positions.

Public safety personnel positions over the past five years are shown in the chart below. The number of public safety positions is projected to decline from a total of 22,335 in FY2019 to 20,625 in FY2023. This is a decrease of 1,710 positions, or 7.7%. While personnel positions are decreasing by 7.7%, appropriations as noted above are increasing by 14.2% over the same timeframe.


Line item details for budgeted personnel within each public safety department are shown in the table below. Over the five-year period from FY2019 through FY2023, personnel positions within the Police Department are decreasing by 849 FTEs, a decrease of 5.7%. The majority of that decrease within CPD took place between FY2020 and FY2021 due to the department eliminating vacant positions in order to produce budget savings in FY2021. The Office of Emergency Management and Communication (OEMC) also has seen a significant decrease in budgeted positions in the past five years—a decline of 1,166 FTEs, or 54.9%—900 of which were crossing guard positions transferred from the City of Chicago’s budget to the Chicago Public Schools budget in 2021.

In the proposed FY2023 budget, public safety positions are set to increase by 81 FTEs, up 0.4% from the FY2022 adopted budget. The Police Department is proposed to receive an increase of 35 positions. The Fire Department is projected to receive an additional 16 positions and the OEMC is projected to receive 13 new positions. The newly formed Community Commission for Public Safety and Accountability is proposed to receive 9 additional FTE positions, bringing the total for the Commission to 23 FTEs compared to 14 in FY2022.


For a look at the Civic Federation’s analysis of the City’s FY2022 budget, click here.

Other Related Links:

City of Chicago Public Safety Spending in the Adopted FY2022 Budget

Chicago Police Department Staffing Analysis

What Is the Chicago Police Department Budget?

How Flexible Is the Chicago Police Department Budget?