The Chicago Police Department’s second-in-command is retiring next month after 32 years on the force, officials confirmed Thursday.
First Deputy Supt. Kevin Navarro will leave the department on Feb. 15, police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said.
“He’s been a real partner to the superintendent,” Guglielmi said. “They’re friends, really.”
Police Supt. Eddie Johnson will announce a replacement for Navarro in “the coming days,” he said.
In a letter Thursday to rank-and-file officers, Navarro wrote, “This decision, which is one of the most difficult I have had to make, is personal, and I plan to spend more time with my family and contribute back to the community through volunteer work. …I am proud of the progress we have made to reduce crime, build bridges with the community, and to keep each other safe.We still have a lot of work ahead of us, but we do it together as partners, friends, and family.”
Navarro briefly took the helm of the police department over the 2017 Labor Day weekend while Johnson was recovering from a kidney transplant. Navarro credited having more cops on patrol and accurate crime hot-spot prediction with a 30 percent reduction in shootings compared with the previous Labor Day weekend.
In September 2016, Navarro replaced First Deputy Supt. John Escalante, who retired following the Laquan McDonald scandal. Hispanic aldermen called for Johnson and Mayor Rahm Emanuel to select a Latino officer like Navarro to replace Escalante.
Navarro, who earned almost $200,000, previously held other key positions. He was deputy chief of patrol on the South side, commander of Area South detectives and a commander of the South Chicago and Grand Central districts.
In February 2017, Navarro was in the news when the city decided to pay $250,000 to settle a lawsuit involving a drag-racing motorcyclist who was injured in an accident involving Navarro’s police SUV in 2011.
Contributing: Fran Spielman