Report: Chicago's Ill-Fated Top Cop Search Cost $500,000

The Chicago Police Board spent $500,000 on their unsuccesful search for a new police superintendent

The Chicago Police Board spent roughly $500,000 on its nationwide search for the city’s next police superintendent, according to a recent Sun-Times report.

After embattled former Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy was fired in the wake of the Laquan McDonald controversy, the city embarked on a wide-ranging, and costly, search for his replacement.

The board’s spending stems from air travel, hotel accommodations and restaurants for visiting candidates, the Sun-Times reports. The costs also covered advertising and background checks for the board’s original 39 candidates, according to the publication.

The $500,000 search was confirmed by Police Board President Lori Lightfoot, the Sun-Times reports.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel ultimately disregarded the board’s three finalists and instead selected the Chicago Police Department’s Chief of Patrol Eddie Johnson. Johnson was named the CPD’s interim top cop last month, replacing John Escalante in that capacity.

"I am confident Eddie Johnson will hit the ground running," Emanuel said. "He is already on the job, he knows our police department, he knows our city."

Aldermen now have to decide whether to undertake a second Police Board search or to allow Emanuel to name Johnson the permanent superintendent.

The alderman will have to choose between changing an ordinance that dates back 50 years, to the Summerdale District’s cops-as-robbers scandal, or allowing a one-time exemption for Johnson.

According to sources, the City Council will vote next Tuesday on whether to lift Johnson’s interim title and grant him the superintendent position. That job comes with a $260,044-a-year salary.

In that case, the Public Safety Committee would then be tasked with deciding whether or not the Police Board should be responsible for vetting and nominating police superintendent candidates moving forward.

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