Chicago police union elects new president Kevin Graham

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Chicago's police union has a new president as the department is under pressure to make changes. The city and the Fraternal Order of Police are negotiating the next contract - and some elected officials are raising concerns about that process.

The FOP's new president, Kevin Graham, spoke for 59 seconds on Thursday afternoon.

"During this transition time, we are going to assemble a team that will work hard for our members over the next three years," Graham said.

Graham takes the helm of the FOP at a critical time. The police contract ends on June 30. He did not address any specific issues, including contract negotiations.

"Although I don't have a lot of time today and don't want to get into specifics, I did want to thank everyone and introduce myself. I look forward to talking to all of you during the next few weeks," Graham said.

With that, Graham left the podium and did not answer any questions - and there are plenty about the future.

The feds - under Attorney General Jeff Sessions - are reviewing whether federal oversight is necessary for police departments, including Chicago. Community members continue to push for police reforms - and that means the upcoming police contract. And they want the process to be transparent.

"The FOP contract has been serving and protecting a culture of racism and violence in our police department for far too long. Now is our chance to change that once and for all," said Alderman Roderick Sawyer, Black Caucus Chairman.

Just today, elected officials - on all levels - called on the mayor and police union to negotiate contract changes, like making anonymous complaints against officers. The city council's Black Caucus wants to meet with President Graham.

"There may be some common ground, there are going to be some disagreements. But, we will never know that unless we get together and speak about them, and I'm extending that branch to the new president of the FOP," Sawyer said.

With the history of Laquan McDonald's shooting and the fallout, elected officials want to make sure the next police contract will not allow officers to delay making statements, too.

There are also community concerns about the new FOP president.

"What I would call it is proof that the FOP is resistant to reform and accountability. They want to be able to do whatever they want to do on the streets," said Bryce Colquitt, who is watching police reforms.

The mayor and the police superintendent also released statements today. Both said they are looking forward to meeting and working with Graham. null
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