Chicago Police

Lori Lightfoot Considers Run for Chicago Mayor

Chicago Police Board President Lori Lightfoot is among those considering adding her name to the February 2019 race

The number of challengers Mayor Rahm Emanuel may face next year is getting crowded and it could get even bigger.

Chicago Police Board President Lori Lightfoot is among those considering adding her name to the February 2019 race.

"Taking on an incumbent mayor who has the capacity to raise unlimited amounts of money in the third largest city in the country, given the number of crises that we have, is a very serious matter," the former federal prosecutor told NBC 5. 

Lightfoot, who attended Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson’s speech at the City Club Tuesday, acknowledged that while the progress the city has made in combatting violent crime is reassuring, it still has far to go. 

“Thank God, they’re making progress, but people ask how did it get this bad in the first place and what we’re talking about is coming from historically high unacceptable levels to less than historic highs,” she said.

Johnson attributes the crime reduction to hiring more police officers as well as new high tech tools “most people around this country did not think we would be right here where we are, we’re not spiking the ball, but certainly it is pointing the needle in the right direction.” 

Still, Lightfoot says “the reality is people in the city still don’t feel safe."

"The numbers are coming down on certain data points but on other data points are going up," she said, adding, “until our kids all over the city feel safe, and until people don’t’ feel like public safety is a commodity that’s only available to certain people in certain neighborhoods, the job isn’t done.” 

A year ago, Emanuel reappointed Lightfoot to President of the Chicago Police Board. She has been unafraid to speak publicly about the need for police reform as well as the “code of silence.” 

As she weighs her decision of perhaps entering politics, Lightfoot said the support from “lots of folks across the city and frankly across the country" has been "encouraging."

"But this is a decision that has to be made by me and my family because we’re going to be putting ourselves out there and asking the citizens of Chicago to take us seriously,” she said. “I’m a planner, I’m a deliberative person, I would never do something so flippantly because the job is so critically important.” 

So how soon might Lightfoot make a decision?

“I’m very mindful of the date, that’s what I’ll say about that," she said. "I would never do something to put myself in an impossible situation.” 

Those who have already announced they’re running for mayor include businessman Willie Wilson, former CPD Superintendent Garry McCarthy, former CPS CEO Paul Vallas, and activist Ja’mal Green recently filed his intentions to run as well. Tech entrepreneur Neal Sales-Griffin also plans an official announcement next week.

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