Former Police Supt. Jody Weis almost didn't take another crime job in Chicago.
Days before Weis sealed the deal on a gig out of town, the Chairman of the Chicago Crime Commission ran into him and recruited the ex-top cop as deputy director of the organized crime-focused organization.
Weis considered the meeting "fate," he said Wednesday during a news conference announcing his new role. He gushed about Chicago, calling it the best big city in America.
"Other than the winter, there's nothing bad about this city," he said.
Except maybe the work at hand. Weis is tasked with addressing the "root causes of crime" in Chicago and leveraging support for this mission from local businesses and aldermen.
HIs first course of action: figuring out how the commission can get it done.
Weis wants to introduce new technology, such as microstamping for weapons, and aims to eventually ban high-capacity gun magazines, make it easier to seize the assets of gangs and make DNA samples mandatory for convicted criminals.
Mostly he wants to address youth violence.
"I think it's fair to say that if there were a disease out there that was killing the number of children that result from youth violence and illegal weapons and drug use, we would have a cure right now," he said. "We need to look at this as an epidemic."
Weis defended his time as police superintendent, pointing out reduction in crime and police lawsuits during his tenure. In the end, he said, some people appreciated his work, some didn't.
As for his replacement?
"[Garry McCarthy] is doing a great job," he said. "He's got to learn the city, he's got to learn Chicago, and he's had some challenges the first couple months, but those challenges would be for anyone."
Weis took over as Chicago's top cop in 2008. He left earlier this year when his contract expired.