Emanuel searching for next CPD superintendent

March 29, 2011 4:14:42 PM PDT
Mayor-elect Rahm Emanuel is continuing his search for a new Chicago police superintendent. He is supposed to wait for a list of recommendations from the Chicago Police Board. But, like Mayor Richard M. Daley, Emanuel wants to do some things his own way.

Emanuel said weeks ago he wanted a new police superintendent named by the time he is inaugurated in mid-May. That schedule requires him to begin the selection process sooner than later. It is an action the mayor-to-be does not consider premature or disrespectful to the police board.

Emanuel admitted he is interviewing prospective candidates for many offices, including police superintendent.

"There are a number of offices I'm looking for. At the end of the day, I do the interviews," said Emanuel.

By rule, Emanuel, who will not assume office until May 16, is supposed to wait for the Chicago Board of Police Commissioners to interview candidates. Then the mayor is supposed to select the superintendent from names recommended by the board.

"It's going to be the report by the police board giving me three people to select from," Emanuel said, "but that doesn't mean I just sit still, idly by, and wait."

In 2008, Mayor Daley was criticized when he interviewed and later appointed FBI agent Jody Weis to be police superintendent. Weis had not been formally nominated or recommended by the police board.

Better Government Association President Andy Shaw says Emanuel's approach shows signs he will be a "controlling" mayor like Daley.

"This is a guy in a hurry," said Shaw. "He likes to get stuffdone quickly, he likes to control the environment, manage the environment...I would be concerned if he ignored the police board entirely, but I think he's trying to make sure there are no surprises and that they know what he wants."

According to some reports, Philadelphia police chief and former Chicago Deputy Superintendent Charles Ramsey is among those already interviewed by Emanuel, who will not divulge the names of anyone with whom he has talked about the job.

"This way, I'm gonna protect the privacy, you'll be able to judge at the end what you think of the individual, what you think of their responsibilities, and whether I've selected the right person, you'll make that judgment," said Emanuel.

Technically, Emanuel cannot announce a selection or receive nominations from the police board until after he is inaugurated on May 16.

All of this is another signal that Emanuel will be a "top-down" mayor, much like his predecessor.