City Council Approves Eddie Johnson as Chicago's New Top Cop

Interim Police Supt. Eddie Johnson is now officially Chicago’s new top cop.

The City Council on Wednesday unanimously approved Johnson's appointment after Mayor Rahm Emanuel rejected the Police Board's three finalists and instead picked him to serve in the role. 

The vote follows a change in current city law approved by the City Council Public Safety Committee Tuesday, which allowed Johnson to be appointed as superintendent without a second Police Board search naming him as a candidate. 

Johnson was named Interim Police Superintendent last month after Mayor Rahm Emanuel rejected the police board's three candidates and chose Johnson for the role instead. He replaced John Escalante, who filled in after embattled former Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy was fired.

According to reports, the Chicago Police Board spent roughly $500,000 on its nationwide search for the city’s next top cop. Emanuel, however, declined to choose the three finalists the board recommended, and chose to appoint Johnson, who did not initially apply for the role.

“I am deeply appreciative of the time and hard work the Police Board put into this search. The three candidates I interviewed have distinguished careers in law enforcement and they all impressed me with their commitment to public safety,” Emanuel said at the time. “However, as our city works through the challenges ahead, it is more important than ever that we find the right person who knows our city and can provide the level of safety every resident deserves, lift the morale of Chicago’s police officers, and build on the work that’s been done to restore trust and accountability in the police department.”

Aldermen who say crime is too high and police morale too low have sided with Emanuel’s decision.

"The mayor was not comfortable with the three finalists, so because of the time it would take to redo this process over again, it would take entirely too long," said Ald. Anthony Beale. 

Still, at least one alderman expressed concern over the decision.

"Who is now vetting," said Ald. Patrick Daley Thompson. "If we're now modifying the ordinance, who's doing that vetting? The background check? All of the work of the Police Review Board."

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