Chicago Police Board to announce finalists for CPD superintendent

The board said it will send three names to the mayor, who will pick the next top cop. The announcement seemed to contradict the board president’s statement last week that the process was on hold because of the pandemic.

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A Chicago police officer was suspended for 270 days Thursday for ‘improper sexual relationship’ with a woman in 2016.

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The Chicago Police Board has announced that it will unveil three finalists for the police superintendent job at a special meeting Wednesday.

The announcement appeared to contradict a statement board president Ghian Foreman made to the Chicago Sun-Times last week that the process was on hold.

“The superintendent search pales in comparison to what we are facing right now,” Foreman said at the time.

The three names will be sent to Mayor Lori Lightfoot, the former president of the board, who will select one for the permanent job.

At a news conference Monday to announce a remote learning plan for Chicago Public Schools students, Lightfoot was asked if she was close to naming a permanent replacement for fired Police Supt. Eddie Johnson.

“When we have something to announce, we’ll announce it publicly,” she said. 

The Sun-Times reported earlier this month that the three finalists will be among these four candidates: former Dallas Police Chief David Brown; Sean Malinowski, a former chief of detectives for the Los Angeles Police Department; Chicago Police Deputy Chief Ernest Cato; and Aurora Police Chief Kristen Ziman, who was invited to President Trump’s State of the Union address for her handling of a mass shooting in Aurora last year. Ziman recently tested positive for COVID-19.

In January, the board announced it received 23 applications for the job.

Charlie Beck, the former chief of the Los Angeles Police Department, has served as interim superintendent since December when Johnson was fired weeks before his scheduled retirement. Johnson was with the department for more than 30 years.

Lightfoot said she ousted Johnson because Johnson lied to her about an embarrassing drinking and driving incident in October near his home in Bridgeport. The city’s Office of the Inspector General is still investigating.

Aside from Johnson, the OIG is investigating several other CPD employees for allegedly covering up the circumstances of the evening, which could end up being “even worse than” the incident itself, a source familiar with Inspector General Joseph Ferguson’s investigation previously told the Sun-Times.  

The selection of a permanent superintendent comes as Chicago continues to grapple with entrenched gun violence. Through mid-March, killings in the city were up 43% over 2019.

The City Council plans to hold a virtual meeting April 15, at which Lightfoot could announce her choice from the three finalists and get the confirmation process started.

Contributing: Frank Main

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