Northeastern Illinois University Hires Former Interim CPD Superintendent John Escalante

Chicago police First Deputy Superintendent John Escalante was hired as Northeastern Illinois University’s new police chief Tuesday

Chicago police First Deputy Superintendent John Escalante will retire from the department after 30 years of service as he moves on to a new role as Northeastern Illinois University’s new police chief.

The announcement of Escalante's new title was made Tuesday morning. 

Escalante was named CPD’s interim superintendent in December of 2015. He replaced former Superintendent Garry McCarthy, who was fired in the wake of the Laquan McDonald controversy. McDonald was shot and killed by Chicago police officer Jason Van Dyke in October of 2014. Dash-cam footage of the incident wasn’t released for over a year.

Escalante is the second high-ranking officer to announce his retirement from the force this week. Deputy Chief David McNaughton, the Chicago Police office who signed off on the report that initially cleared Officer Jason Van Dyke in McDonald's shooting, retired Monday.

McNaughton's announcement came after the Chicago Sun-Times reported that a “scathing assessment” by the city recommends at least 10 police officers involved in the McDonald case “be fired or severely disciplined.”

CPD Superintendent Eddie Johnson lauded Escalante’s service in the police force and wished him the best in his new role.

“As police superintendent and a resident of Chicago, I have bittersweet emotions on John’s decision to accept this incredible opportunity as our police department will lose a very dedicated and intelligent crime fighter who cares deeply about the people and safety of our city,” CPD Superintendent Eddie Johnson said in a statement. “However, as a friend and father of college-aged children, I would be grateful knowing that John Escalante is the man safeguarding their college experience and future.”

“The students and faculty of Northeastern Illinois University couldn’t have chosen a better candidate for the position of chief of police and on behalf of the entire Chicago Police Department, I wish him the very best and thank him for his invaluable contributions to the city,” Johnson added.

Escalante was chosen by NEIU from a pool of more than 140 applicants following a series of interviews. He will replace James Lyon, who left the school in March of 2016 after more than 10 years. 

“John Escalante has a national reputation in the field of law enforcement for his experience, integrity and leadership,” Northeastern Illinois University Sharon Hahs said in a statement. “We welcome him to the Northeastern Illinois University community as we work together to ensure a safe and healthy environment for our students, faculty and staff.”

Escalante will begin serving in his new capacity on Sept. 7.

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