Ever since former Chicago Spt. Garry McCarthy was fired following pressure stemming from Laquan McDonald’s murder, there’s been a search for a permanent superintendent for the Chicago Police Department. Mayor Rahm Emanuel has made his pick on who he would like to fill the position.
Eddie Johnson is a 27-year CPD veteran and current chief of patrol, according to the Chicago Sun-Times. According to sources, he’s a non-polarizing figure and his history and work in the Gresham neighborhood will bode well for both raising officer morale and keeping homegrown talent from fleeing to other cities.
While Johnson hasn’t actually applied for the position yet, Emanuel plans to stick by the clearly established laws when it comes to appointing him to make it official. Going based off off of current law, Emanuel has to choose the next superintendent from a small group of names the Police Board sorts through and presents.
The most recent version of this list included Deputy Police Supt. Eugene Williams, Cedric Alexander, the African-American public safety director of DeKalb County, Georgia, and Anne Kirkpatrick, a retired police chief of Spokane, Washington.
Emmanuel will likely reject all three of these finalists and appoint Johnson as the interim superintendent – taking the place of John Escalante, who’s held the position since McCarthy’s dismissal. This move has raised concerns in Chicago’s Hispanic community, with residents pointing out that Escalante wasn’t included in the list of finalists to permanently hold the position, as well as anyone else of Hispanic descent.
The next step would be for Johnson to apply for the position while still filling it in an interim capacity and being presented as a finalist that Emanuel will then select and make the choice official. Escalante will likely return to his former position as first deputy superintendent.
The Chicago Police Department is currently under much scrutiny after a laundry list of alleged infractions and wrongdoings, which has officers on edge and reportedly cautious to fulfill certain aspects of their jobs. Many involved in the process are hoping that Johnson’s tenure will help resolve these issues.
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