Hillard repeats role as CPD superintendent

March 2, 2011 2:22:50 PM PST
Terry Hillard is back on the job years after leaving the Chicago Police Department. Wednesday was his first day as interim superintendent.

Hillard replaced former police superintendent Jody Weis, whose contract ended Tuesday. Daley spoke about Weis' departure Wednesday for the first time, saying he allowed Weis a couple of weeks to make up his mind on whether or not to extend his contract until May 16, the day Mayor elect Rahm Emanuel takes over.

Weis decided not to stay, which left the mayor's office scrambling for a replacement. They turned to former top cop Hillard, 67, who served as police superintendent from 1998 to 2003.

"It feels good. It really does. This is a dynamite department, very dynamic department, you know. A department I love dearly," Hillard said as he entered Chicago Police Department headquarters Wednesday.

Hillard will be the interim police superintendent until Emanuel hires a permanent replacement. Weis spoke exclusively with ABC7 Wednesday. "It just seemed like a natural door to walk through on March the first when my contract ended. I didn't really resign, it's just, job over. And, that's what a contract is," said Weis.

Weis was hired by Daley three years ago when the CPD was wracked by corruption and abuse scandals.

"And he came in under that cloud and he did a very, very good job, I want to say that," Mayor Daley said.

During his election campaign, Emanuel promised to replace Weis, citing -- among other issues -- his disagreement with the former FBI agent's plan to re-deploy more police resources to high crime areas. Hillard says that his interim administration will begin no new programs and that job one is to re-introduce himself to the command staff.

Hopefully in the next couple of days, you know, start talking to the rank and file and to let 'em know there's been a change, but, we gotta move ahead," Hillard said.

Mayor Daley -- whose control at city hall is legendary -- denied there was any disorganization or chaos surrounding his administration's handling of Weis' departure.

"He was undecided whether or not he wanted to stay. He had offers coming in and he just saw fit to do it. It was just a personal decision," Daley said.

Hillard said until Wednesday, his number one responsibility of late was an 8-year-old granddaughter. When asked if he would consider coming back full time, Hillard was thorough in his answer. "No, N - O, No, no. Read my lips: No."

Emanuel will take office on May 16, but it could be summer before he finds a permanent police superintendent.