Weis wants to stay on as Chicago's top cop

September 10, 2010 4:31:20 AM PDT
Chicago Police Superintendent Jody Weis said that he would like to continue on as head of the department when a new mayor is elected in 2011.

The city's embattled top cop talked about his future, Mayor Daley's decision not to seek re-election and what it may mean for safety in the city on Thursday.

"He took a chance, he went with an outsider, and I recognize that," said Superintendent Weis.

The police chief, like every city department head, serves at the pleasure of the mayor. One alderman who is running said if elected, his first act would be to fire him. Weis fired back.

"I've learned a long time ago, only focus on the things I have control over," said Weis.

Like it or not, Jody Weis and his tenure at the top of the nation's second largest police department will be one of the biggest issues in the upcoming, wide-open race for mayor.

"Some of the things we have done might be clouded on the fact that I am an outsider. I am from Florida. There's nothing I can about that. And yes, I am from the FBI. I worked there for 23 years. So I think sometimes that clouds the message," said Weis.

Mayor Daley's surprise pick nearly three years ago of an outsider to head a very cliquey department angered many. But Weis counters he's been a friend to the rank and file. He equipped officers with Tasers, got them more training and implemented technology to track crime as it happens. Weis credits Mayor Daley with having his back.

"Despite what everybody thinks he has given me absolute, complete, free reign to make the decisions I have made knowing that I have to live or die with those decisions. That comes from someone who has courage," said Weis.

His contract with the city is up on March 1. That means Mayor Daley's successor will decide his fate.

"When the headlines glared for months and years all about police brutality?this man came in and did the job that was necessary," said Daley.

"I would love to stay several more years to just see if some of the things we've started can be completed and then build upon those," said Weis.

His says despite the perception that crime, including killings, are on the rise, statistics show the opposite is true. Still, a series of back to school student shootings this week is cause for concern.

"We look at every act of violence every day to see what the drivers behind that and see what we have to do to prevent retaliation," said Weis.

Now, the former fed from Florida waits like everyone else to see who the next mayor will be and how much of an issue Jody Weis is in the campaign.

"I'd like to think I wouldn't be an issue but, again, in this city who knows," said Weis.

Supt. Weis says he won't allow the race to replace Mayor Daley to be a distraction in the coming months.

The reality is there is going to be a ton of turn-over in city departments and depending on who the next mayor is Weis, or any other department head, may not want to stay on if they think they don't have the full support of the new mayor.


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