Who will be Chicago's next top cop?

March 1, 2011 4:17:27 PM PST
Selecting a permanent Chicago police superintendent will be the decision of Mayor-elect Rahm Emanuel. In this Intelligence Report: Who Emanuel may be considering, including someone with close White House connections.

Emanuel said numerous times during the campaign that he planned to replace Jody Weis as police superintendent. In a statement released Tuesday, the mayor-elect praised Weis for his service and for reducing crime, and he praised Mayor Richard M. Daley for bringing in Terry Hillard to lead the police department for a few months.

When Emanuel is sworn in on May 16 naming his own police superintendant will be one of the first things he does.

On the transition team Mayor-elect Emanuel announced last week is a former Chicago police officer, who may help direct the search for a superintendent.

Two names likely to be on the initial list:

  • Former Chicago police official Charles Ramsey, now police chief in Philadelphia by way of the metro police department in Washington, D.C.,
  • and William Bratton, retired Los Angeles police chief.

Both Bratton and Ramsey may be considered too old for a department aimed at modernizing its crime fighting machine.

One top suburban police official said Tuesday these four men might be possible contenders:

  • Tony Batts, currently Oakland, Calif., police chief;
  • George Gascon was recently the police chief of San Francisco and is now the local district attorney;
  • Hiram Grau is a retired Chicago police deputy superintendent;
  • and Ronal Serpas is the New Orleans police chief.

Emanuel told the Fraternal Order of Police that he will give "considerable weight to each candidate's collective professional experiences, including their familiarity and past employment with the Chicago Police Department."

That brings us to the most intriguing candidate: Michael Shields, Michelle Obama's cousin with 21 years with Chicago police, including time in the detective division as deputy chief from 2002 to 2008.

Weis promoted Shields to deputy superintendent in the Bureau of Strategic Deployment. Then, in short order, Weis demoted him to lieutenant at the Belmont area headquarters.

In May 2009 Shields was named security chief for the beleaguered Chicago Public Schools.

An attempt to contact the first lady's cousin at CPS headquarters Tuesday was not successful.