City Council Committee Approves Change of Ordinance in Top Cop Search

Interim Police Supt. Eddie Johnson could soon officially become Chicago’s next top cop.

The City Council Public Safety Committee approved changing the current city law that requires a second Police Board search after the mayor rejected the board’s three finalists and opted to appoint Johnson instead.

The measure was approved a near-unanimous vote, with only Ald. Patrick Daley Thompson speaking out against it.

“Who is now vetting, who is doing the background check,” Thompson said.

The approval would mean a one-time only change to the Police Board rules.

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

Johnson was named the CPD’s interim superintendent last month, replacing 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.”

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