How will Chicago's new top cop be chosen?

April 12, 2011 7:17:59 PM PDT
Monday was the deadline to submit applications for the job of Chicago police superintendent.

The Chicago police board now begins a fast track winnowing of what it says is a talented, diverse pool of applicants.

The board says it has received in excess of 40 applications including a "significant number from current members of the Chicago Police Department." Of the external candidates, the board says many are current or former leaders of large organizations.

"I think it should be someone local," said Ald. Michelle Harris, 8th Ward.

The new head of the council's police and fire committee subscribes to the notion that an internal candidate can hit the ground running.

Assistant superintendent James Jackson and area chief of patrol Eugene Willams are said to be among two-dozen plus candidates from within the department.

"So, it's really good to know where the issues exist. You bring in a new person, they have got to learn the system too," said Harris.

"Crime has shifted, the population has shifted, but police have not shifted," said Ald. Anthony Beale, 9th Ward.

The former chair of the council's police and fire committee thinks the priority is not internal versus external, but whether a new top cop is committed to beat realignments moving more street cops from lower crime to high crime neighborhoods.

"We all know that's not a popular decision, but you have to have a true leader, you have to do the right thing by everybody and not just certain communities," said Beale.

Each of the candidates was asked to respond to four essay questions: list your three most significant accomplishments; explain how you'd build on the decline in homicides ; how would you improve department morale, and how would you achieve greater diversity on the department.

Police board members now have some reading to do.

On its written form, the police board told all the applicants not to send any photographs, awards, diplomas, certificates, video or audio tapes. And "the use of elaborate binding is discouraged."

The board figures out the three it believes rise to the top, and then recommends them to the mayor-elect.

On its written form, the police board told all the applicants not to send any photographs, awards, diplomas, certificates, video or audio tapes. And "the use of elaborate binding is discouraged."

The board figures out the three it believes rise to the top, and then recommends them to the mayor-elect.

For the last time while he is mayor, Richard Daley Tuesday welcomed newly-sworn officers to the department. Interim police superintendent Terry Hillard also participated in the ceremony. Hillard, who served as police superintendent already in the late 1990s and early 2000s, does not want the top cop job permanently.

Incoming mayor Rahm Emanuel can choose someone on the board-recommended list or choose someone who is not on the list.


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