Police Superintendent Weis to Walk

Chicago's top cop is off the beat.

Jody Weis apparently did not receive the written contract extension that would have kept him on as police superintendent until the end of Mayor Richard Daley's term this May, so he's leaving.

Without a written contract, sources said, Weis declined to stay on board and left his post at the end of the business day Tuesday.  A veteran Daley aide will step in until a permanent replacement is found.

"Serving as the Superintendent of the Chicago Police Department has been an honor and a great privilege," Weis said in a statement.  "I thank Mayor Daley, and the residents of Chicago, for this opportunity of a lifetime."

Daley said a day earlier that he wanted to Weis to stay on board through the end of his term, but didn't get his wish, either.

“I would like to thank Jody Weis for his service to the people of Chicago over the past three years,” Daley said in a statement.  “He has been successful at both implementing new strategies in our fight against crime and assuring that the conduct of our police officers meets the highest standards so that our residents have confidence that the Police Department is protecting and serving them.”.

Police sources said there was "a buzz in the building" at police headquarters on 35th Street. Weis was reportedly planning to say goodbye to staff there sometime Tuesday afternoon.  

Fraternal Order of Police president Mark Donahue, who's had a prickly relationship with Weis, declined to celebrate.

"I won't dance on anyone's grave," Donahue said.

Veteran Daley aide Terry Hillard will fill in for Weis in the interim beginning Monday.

"Terry’s knowledge and understanding of the police department is outstanding," Daley said in yet another release.  He will ensure that the needs of our residents continue to be met and that the transition to the new administration is smooth and seamless.” 

The move to name Hillard earned praise from Mayor-elect Rahm Emanuel.

"I want to praise Mayor Daley today for moving quickly to fill the vacancy and appointing Terry Hillard as Interim Police Superintendent," reads a statement from the Emanuel office. "This was not a position the city could afford to leave open or a department we could afford to leave adrift without leadership."

Reached outside his home, Hillard said he was honored to answer Daley's call.

Mike Shields, a cousin of Michelle Obama and a former member of the rank-and-file, is the top choice to take the Supt. job once Emanuel takes office, sources told NBC Chicago.

Sources also said Weis protectively transferred several top aides effective Thursday -- two of his drivers and a secretary -- just in case he was not at his desk to make sure they land on their feet. 

Weis' departure is the second top city official to leave before Daley's term is up.  Ron Huberman, who headed up Chicago Public Schools, exited last November.  

What happens next?  The Chicago Police Board will conduct a nationwide search for Weis' permanent replacement and present three choices to Emanuel, who will select one of them.

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