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Chicago Police Supt. Eddie Johnson Says He's Not Done Working Despite Retirement

The announcement came days after Johnson, who is currently the center of an investigation, said he was considering retirement so he could spend more time with his family

Chicago Police Supt. Eddie Johnson may be retiring, but he's not done working, he said moments after his major announcement.

Johnson told NBC 5 in an interview that he still believes he has something to offer.

"I can tell you this - I'm not done working yet," he said. 

Johnson noted that he has had some job offers already, but said "it's important for me to take some time and reflect on these past 31 years and make a decision that I am comfortable with." 

Johnson on Thursday announced plans to retire from his post as the city's top cop after less than four years leading the department. 

"It's time for someone else to pin these four stars to their shoulders," an emotional Johnson said in a press conference. "These stars can sometimes feel like carrying the weight of the world, but I'm confident that I leave CPD in a better place than when I became superintendent." 

The announcement came days after Johnson, who is currently the center of an investigation, said he was considering retirement so he could spend more time with his family. 

Johnson said he had a revelation following a trip to London.

"We took a trip to London, following the Bears. They lost the game, but since I've been superintendent, we haven't had the chance to spend that kind of time together and it made me feel normal," Johnson said, gesturing to his family members gathered beside him.

"And I saw them, how they missed me in that kind of setting, and that's pretty much what did it," he continued, grabbing onto his young son. "This guy right here is my copilot and for him to call me and say, 'What time you coming home tonight? Just bring me a strawberry donut with sprinkles on it.' You know... it's time, it's time, it's time." 

Johnson acknowledged that being the city's top cop "has taken its toll."

"Taken a toll on my health, my family, my friends, but my integrity remains intact," he said. 

Neither Johnson nor Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot would address the investigation into an incident in which Johnson was found asleep behind the wheel of his car last month, only saying Thursday "we have to let the investigation run its course." 

Lightfoot said in October Johnson admitted to her that he "had a couple of drinks" before he was found.

Johnson initially said a change in medication triggered the incident and he felt "lightheaded" while driving, but Lightfoot later clarified during an interview with the Sun-Times that Johnson revealed "he had a couple of drinks with dinner." 

Johnson underwent successful kidney transplant surgery in 2017. His private health battle at the time became public in January 2017 when he almost fainted at a news conference after he said a reaction to blood sugar medication made him lightheaded. Johnson's donated kidney came from his son.

Johnson's career in the top spot began in 2016 when Mayor Rahm Emanuel controversially appointed him as the city's new Interim Superintendent despite Johnson not being on the list of three finalists approved by the Chicago Police Board. Emanuel rejected those finalists and asked the board to conduct a new search. He ultimately picked Johnson, Chicago's chief of patrol at the time.

"Rahm Emanuel saw something in me I didn't see in myself," Johnson said Thursday. "I led the nation's second largest police department ever since." 

Johnson is expected to stay in his role through the end of the year as the city works to find a replacement. 

"CPD needs strong leadership and I want the next top cop to continue making improvements to public safety and in the department that I love," he said.  

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