Longtime PD spokesman says he's forced to retire

April 10, 2008 8:59:14 PM PDT
He's been with the Chicago Police Department for nearly 40 years. For the last 20, he's been one of its most visible spokesmen. But now, Pat Camden says he finds himself forced into retirement -- the latest in a series of high profile changes by the new police superintendent.

"I literally became the voice and the face of the police department," said Camden.

His face may be more recognizable than any of the ten police superintendents he has worked under.

Camden joined the Chicago Police Department in 1970. Memories of riots were still fresh. And Camden worked some of the city's toughest streets.

"There was nothing -- there is nothing -- better than being the police," he said.

And that viewpoint influences everything Camden does. There are no shades of gray -- just deep blue. It is why, in some communities, he is a polarizing figure when he's called in to explain a police shooting. Camden's done it, by his count, nearly 325 times.

"In my 38 years being in law enforcement and being a police officer, I have never met anyone who decided first thing in the morning they were going to go out there and shoot someone," Camden said.

Camden has harsh words for those who protest the police. On his blog, he calls some who complain to the media bold face liars.

"That's easy to do, that's easy to do. Walk the walk the policemen do," he said.

Camden criticizes some aspects of the new Independent Police Review Board, saying the public is now getting less information about police shootings than it did when he was allowed to brief the media.

He's also not a full fan of new police superintendent Jodi Weis' decision to replace dozens of experienced commanders with younger talent.

"I think change is good, but experience is invaluable," Camden said.

With that, Pat Camden leaves police headquarters as the latest victim of change; no apologies, just pride, in the department he served.

Load Comments