New police superintendent talks about role

February 8, 2008 4:45:26 PM PST
Chicago's new police superintendent is talking about the big job he's taking on.Jody Weis is a former FBI agent who headed the FBI office in Philadelphia. He said he knows his biggest challenge is restoring trust both inside and outside the police department

Thousands of hard-working Chicago police officers are being tarnished by the actions of a handful of bad cops. That's what new superintendent Weis says. Yet he knows that he faces a critical issue of restoring trust between police and the communities they serve.

"I want to hear what I can do to restore trust, to work with community leaders, I'll work closely with them for them to tell me what I have to do to bring trust back to such a great organization," said Weis.

Weis says he'll meet with neighborhood leaders first, then eventually have community meetings throughout the city where residents can air their concerns.

At the same time, he knows there are morale issues within the police department itself. As an outsider, who's never been a street cop, Weis hopes to gain the confidence of rank and file officers by meeting with them at roll calls and where they work.

"I'd like to think that if I go out there and make that, they understand that the leadership of this department is there to serve them," said Weis. "I'm looking forward to meeting them late at night, grabbing a cup of coffee with them, saying, 'What can I do to serve you better?'"

The new superintendent is also now the head of the city's emergency operations. But Weis sees that as a coordinating role rather than a hands-on manager.

And as he puts together his management team, his first appointment will be closely scrutinized. He'll be choosing his first deputy superintendent - the second in command at the police department.

"I think diversity is always important," he said.

He won't say if his choice will be African American, Latino or female. But he's looking at a field of about 20 candidates.

"I'm extraordinarily confident there will be some highly qualified, highly eligible candidates within the Chicago Police Department," he said.

That's a big hint that the second in command will be someone who's currently in the department, not an outsider. Weis says he expects to make his choice within the next week or two.


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