City Council unanimously confirms Larry Snelling as Chicago police superintendent

Saturday, September 30, 2023
Council unanimously confirms Snelling as CPD superintendent
City Council held a vote to confirm Larry Snelling as the next superintendent of the Chicago Police Department.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Chicago City Council unanimously confirmed Larry Snelling as Chicago police superintendent during a special meeting Wednesday.

The meeting got underway about 11:30 a.m. at City Hall, and the vote was 48-0, with two aldermen not present.

The BGA weighs in on challenges that are top of mind for newly-confirmed CPD Supt. Larry Snelling.

The confirmation was expected, and Snelling took the oath of office soon after.

"We will find our officers and your constituents are not that far apart in beliefs: Everybody wants to go home safe," Snelling said.

Chief Larry Snelling's nomination sailed through a City Council committee hearing last Friday.

ABC7 Political Analyst Laura Washington talks about Larry Snelling with the City Council set to vote on his confirmation as CPD superintendent.

The very popular Snelling is viewed by Council members and Mayor Brandon Johnson as the right person to bridge the community and the police department

Snelling grew up in Englewood and has spent 31 years with the police department, joining the force in 1991.

He has been CPD's current chief of counterterrorism and a longtime educator at the training academy.

When it comes to police accountability, Snelling asked aldermen and Chicago residents to treat officers fairly

"If they are wrong, I'm going to call them wrong, but we need fairness. We need them judged fairly, the way anybody in this room would want themselves or anyone they know see judged fairly. We are all human beings," he said.

But, Snelling said the most important missing component when it comes to policing and violent crime are the victims, especially when children are involved.

"I don't care who it is, when a child is hurt and murdered, I'll stand with anyone who is outraged by that," he said.

Snelling inherits a city struggling with violent crime. Armed robberies have taken center stage along with carjackings and gun violence.

RELATED: Bucktown attackers beat man in broad daylight amid string of Chicago robberies: VIDEO

The murder rate is down, but Snelling still must boost officer morale.

He said technology will be a big part of tracking criminals.

"We all know that robberies can lead to something higher; we are also going to have teams that we put together just to focus on these types of incidents," Snelling said.

However, Snelling told council members that police cannot solve crimes alone. He said police must be part of a community, and the community must be part of the police.

"I don't think that there's any magic bullets," ABC7 Political Analyst Laura Washington said. "I don't think that there's any overnight solutions. The city is in crisis when it comes to crime and policing right now. He has got a big job ahead of him and it is going to take him awhile to get there."

Snelling has said rehabilitation options should be considered for young offenders.

The 54-year-old also believes tougher gun laws are needed.

Many City Council members Wednesday morning said Snelling is the right person for the job.

"He gets it. He feels it. He understands it, and he sounds like he has a plan. You know one of the biggest challenges for him and us is recruiting more police officers. So his big emphasis is gonna be on recruitment," 27th Ward Alderman Walter Burnett Jr. said.

And Alderman Ray Lopez said he's hopeful the mayor will let Snelling do his job.

"I'm hopeful that if the mayor wants to bring down the crime numbers in advance of the Democratic National Convention coming here, that he let's Snelling do his job because otherwise we're just going to see a repeat of an emasculate department handcuffed beyond belief unable to contain the criminality that will be rampant and is rampant in every community," Lopez said.

Aldermen also said Snelling has the respect of fellow officers.

Snelling released a statement, saying, "It is a tremendous honor to answer the call to serve my hometown and the people of Chicago as Superintendent of the Chicago Police Department, and I thank the City Council for the overwhelming support. In order to continue to make progress as a department, we must embrace innovation and partnership, continue to strengthen morale, and go further in strengthening bonds of trust between police and community. We will do this in collaboration with Mayor Johnson and the full force of government. I promise to work with and on behalf of every community to strengthen safety and build a stronger city for the people of Chicago."

In a statement, Mayor Brandon Johnson said, "I'm grateful for the City Council's confirmation of Superintendent Larry Snelling today, marking a step forward in our journey to create a better, stronger, safer Chicago. Superintendent Snelling is a proven leader who has the experience and the respect of his peers to help ensure the safety and well-being of all city residents, and address the complex challenges we all face related to community safety. I am confident that by working collaboratively with our new superintendent and all vested stakeholders inside government and beyond, we can develop and implement comprehensive strategies that address the unique needs of each community and improve public safety throughout our great city."

Mayor Johnson spoke after CPD Superintendent Snelling was approved.

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