Chicago police Supt. Eddie Johnson says new reforms are coming

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After welcoming 193 new Chicago police recruits, Superintendent Eddie Johnson spoke at the City Club about new reforms for the police department. (WLS)

After welcoming 193 new Chicago police recruits, Superintendent Eddie Johnson spoke at the City Club about new reforms for the police department.

During a speech, Johnson revealed that later this year the department will launch an early warning program to identify officers struggling with issues at home or on the job.

"This early detection and intervention will not only protect the emotional and physical health of our officers, it will also protect the community to ensure their officers are acting professionally in their capacity on the street," Johnson said.

This police graduation was the first since the murder of police Cmdr. Paul Bauer. Johnson took a moment to honor Bauer, while later taking umbrage with the latest issue of Chicago Magazine where the man charged with the commander's murder, Shomari Legghette talked to the writers, and even went so far as to compare himself to Trayvon Martin.

"Paul Bauer's a hero, the guy that got murdered him, to me to me is a nameless person and he's a coward," Johnson said.

As Johnson looks at other ways to make the department better, he unveiled plans for a force review unit to evaluate police involved shootings to learn from them what officers could do differently.

With his health good, and his favor with the mayor perhaps even better, Johnson was asked how much longer he wants to serve as the city's top cop.

"Before I leave the superintendents chair, what I want to see, and I don't know how long this is gonna take, but it's just my personal feeling, 48 What I want to eventually see is the Chicago Police Department become a model agency for the country," Johnson said.

NEW OFFICERS

Early Tuesday, Johnson and Mayor Rahm Emanuel joined the new officers as they took the oath of office during a ceremony at the Arie Crown Theater.

Twenty three percent of the recruits are women and nearly 56 percent are minorities. During the ceremony, Superintendent Eddie Johnson noted that shootings and murders in the city are down by 25 percent in 2018.

"Welcome to the Chicago Police Department and your new family," Johnson told the graduates.

Emanuel noted that the Chicago Police Department is going through incredible change, with the training now incorporating the new use of force policy focusing on de-escalation and with officers now being equipped with tasers and body cameras.

In addition to the new recruits the ceremony also included the promotion of 104 field training officers, 11 command staff members and 10 traffic specialists.

"I congratulate and thank each of every new officer and promoted member for their commitment to the residents of this city and to a safer and stronger Chicago," said Mayor Emanuel.

"I am proud to welcome the next generation of Chicago police officers who are joining CPD at a time off historic positive change and sustained gun violence reductions," Johnson said.
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