Weis out, Hillard back in as CPD superintendent

March 2, 2011 4:22:50 AM PST
Police Superintendent Jody Weis left the Chicago Police Department Tuesday. His replacement is Terry Hillard, a former CPD superintendent.

Hillard will replace Weis on a temporary basis, according to Alderman Anthony Beale, a member of the City Council's police and fire committee, as interim police superintendent. Beale said Hillard is "just going to be there to keep things status quo."

Weis's contract ended Tuesday. Mayor Richard M. Daley had said he wanted Weis to stay on until Rahm Emanuel takes office on May 16. Weis declined after he and Daley could not reach agreement on the terms of that extension. No information about those terms was released.

In a statement issued by the CPD Tuesday afternoon, Weis said, "I firmly believe it would be selfish of me to continue in this position as I actively seek new career opportunities . . . Additionally, it is critical to have someone in place as soon as possible to prepare for the summer, our most challenging time of year."

In the same statement, Mayor Daley thanked Weis and said, "He has been successful at both implementing new strategies in our fight against crime and assuring that the conduct of our police officers meets the highest standards so that our residents have confidence that the Police Department is protecting and serving them."

Hillard begins Wednesday. He headed up the Chicago Police Department from 1998 to 2003 and got his start on the force as a patrol officer in 1968. He is considered a favorite of rank and file officers.

"Really excited that the mayor would reach back and grab and old timer, an old salt to come in and give him a hand," said Hilard.

Emanuel has said he plans to select someone who came up the rank-and-file as a Chicago police officer.

Weis, who served as police superintendent for three years, said recently he wants to stay in Chicago, but his plans are not clear.

"Serving as the Superintendent of the Chicago Police Department has been an honor and a great privilege," said Weis in the statement. "I thank Mayor Daley, and the residents of Chicago, for this opportunity of a lifetime."

Alderman Beale says Weis's departure means high crime neighborhoods won't be the beneficiary of an influx of officers anytime soon.

"It had not been done in over 30 years, he was the first superintendent that was ready to move forward with resource re-allocation," said Ald. Beale.

Anonymous posters to a popular police blog celebrated Weis's departure Tuesday night.

"Even though I don't have anything personal against the guy, I think most police officers feel it's time to bring someone in who knows what this job is all about," said Patrick Murray, a 22-year veteran of the force now running to lead the police union.