CHICAGO (WLS) --The Police Board is expected to announce the names of the three finalists for the position of Chicago Police Superintendent on Thursday. On Wednesday night, the ABC7 I-Team learned of one leading contender who says he is no longer on the list.
One of the most-mentioned names to become the next Chicago Police Superintendent was George Turner, now the police chief in Atlanta, Ga. But "it's not him," according to a spokesman for the Atlanta PD. Turner is apparently staying put in the south. There were 39 applicants for the job that opened up when Garry McCarthy was dumped by Mayor Rahm Emanuel. Now the field is narrowing.
The police department's version of March Madness resembles a field of more than three dozen recently whittled down to a bracket of about a dozen, according to insiders.
The search committee process is secret, but names have been bounced and tossed about publicly by law enforcement experts and police department observers.
It is thought that the majority of applicants and finalists are minority candidates who will be pared to just three finalists.
The seamless choice would be John Escalante, acting superintendent since McCarthy was fired, but ABC7 political consultant Laura Washington says he may not make the cut.
"Escalante has presented himself very well under fire; he has been cool, calm and thoughtful but the murder rate, the killings, the shootings continue to go up under his leadership and that doesn't bode well for him," says ABC7 Political Analyst Laura Washington.
The leading outsider is thought to be Dr. Cedric Alexander, the chief of the Dekalb County, Ga., Police Department. He did not return the I-Team's calls.
Insiders are said to include Ernest Brown, longtime CPD officials now Chief of Cook County Homeland Security; Eddie Johnson, CPD'S Chief of Patrol; Fred Waller, CPD Deputy Chief; Eric Washington, Head of CPD Community Policing; and Eugene Williams who leads the CPD Bureau of Administration.
"I think it's going to have to be a person of color and someone who has strong credentials in terms of dealing with the community. I think it will also have to be someone with Chicago experience," says Washington.
Long-shot possibilities may include David Clarke, the Milwaukee Co. Sheriff; Charlie Williams, former CPD Internal Affairs now Commissioner of Streets and Sanitation; Heather Fong with the U.S. Dept. of Homeland Security and former San Francisco Police Commissioner; Cassandra Deck-Brown, the Raleigh police chief; and Jacqueline A. Seabrooks, Santa Monica, Calif., police chief.
They are outsiders probably not on the city's radar.
"The last two superintendents were from outside the department and I think they never really gained the trust of the rank and file," Washington says.
We will see Thursday morning if that indeed matters when three finalists names will be announced at a Police Board special meeting.