3 finalists named for CPD superintendent

April 29, 2011 (CHICAGO)

There are two department insiders and one outsider.

Since Mayor Richard Daley forced out Superintendent Jody Weis, there were dozens of applications for the job, from within the Chicago Police Department and across the country.

The Chicago Police board narrowed the field a couple of times and finally today took it down to three choices that will be offered to Rahm Emanuel after his swearing-in on May 16th.

Even though one of the three is thought to be a favorite of the mayor-elect, there are downsides to all of them, and Emanuel could make his own choice.

Newark, New Jersey Police Chief Garry McCarthy has met with Mayor-elect Emanuel and is believed to be the leading contender of the three.

McCarthy has years of top-level management experience with the New York City police and has been chief of Newark's department since 2006.

However, three members of the city council there fought his appointment, as did black and Hispanic law enforcement groups.

They pointed to an incident at a New Jersey rest stop in 2005, when McCarthy and his wife were involved in an incident with park police after his daughter was ticketed for parking in a handicapped spot.

McCarthy, with the NYPD at the time, was handcuffed and arrested after the encounter and convicted of disorderly conduct.

That's not the only blemish.

Much earlier in McCarthy's career, he went for his gun during an off-duty street argument with two men and was disciplined because he was in uniform and had been drinking.

When he first applied for the Chicago job in 2003 and lost out to Phil Cline, I asked him about that incident.

"I wish that people would ask the same questions about my arrests 20 years ago," said McCarthy in 2003.

The top in-house contender is Eugene Williams, with decades of Chicago police experience, but without ever having run an entire department. He is nationally-known in law enforcement circles and currently holds an officer's position with a black police management association.

Williams, the Chief of Patrol of the Chicago police, is the longest continuously-serving member of the CPD command staff.

Williams was not on Rahm Emanuel's personal list of top choices.

Neither was the police board's final recommendation: Debra Kirby, currently the department's lead legal counsel. She first became a Chicago police officer in 1990.

She too has had a variety of police jobs in her background, including with internal affairs.

Even though Kirby has been criticized for her lax role in an investigation of misconduct at the special operations section a few years ago, the police board apparently did not consider that serious enough to take her out of the running.

Emanuel could still ignore the suggestions and pick someone else entirely.

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