After announcing three candidates for the role of Chicago’s top cop this week, Mayor Rahm Emanuel did not offer a timeline for his selection to replace interim Police Superintendent John Escalante.
Nonetheless, Emanuel alluded to the pressing nature of the selection process during a press conference at a new food distribution warehouse in Roseland.
“The city of Chicago is eager to get going,” Emanuel said. “The Police Department is eager to get going. There are people of the city of Chicago eager to have a superintendent and their leadership team in place so we can move toward reducing gun violence and gang violence.”
A total of 38 individuals applied for the job, but only three were chosen: Dr. Cedric Alexander, the current Director of Public Safety in Dekalb County, Georgia; Anne Kirkpatrick, the former Chief of Police in Spokane, Washington; and Eugene Williams, the Chief of Support Services in Chicago, and the only current Chicago officer who made the cut.
“This was no ordinary search for a new Police Superintendent because these are not ordinary times,” Police Board President Lori Lightfoot said in a statement, noting, “Chicago is at a critical juncture."
Emanuel fired Former Superintendent Garry McCarthy in December of last year. His ousting came in the wake of the controversial shooting of African-American teen Laquan McDonald.
McDonald was shot and killed by caucasian Chicago police officer Jason Van Dyke in October of 2014. Van Dyke was charged with McDonald’s murder after a judge forced Emanuel to release police dash-cam footage of the incident.
Emanuel said that race will play a role in his decision, noting that “in the sense of building trust and cooperation, it’s something obviously you have to look at.”
Interim Superintendent John Escalante was not included on the shortlist provided to the mayor. There has been a spike in Chicago homicides in 2016. 128 have been reported this year, according to DNAinfo.
Emanuel said he was anxous to make a selection, but will weigh his options patiently. He can choose his next superintendent from these candidates, or could ask for another list.