No. 3 Chicago cop retiring after making history as highest-ranking Black woman in department

Barbara West, deputy superintendent of the Office of Constitutional Policing and Reforms, was promoted in January. On Wednesday night, Police Supt. David Brown announced her retirement but didn’t say why she’s leaving.

SHARE No. 3 Chicago cop retiring after making history as highest-ranking Black woman in department
Chicago Police Deputy Supt. Barbara West.

Chicago Police Deputy Supt. Barbara West.

Anthony Vazquez / Sun-Times

The Chicago Police Department’s No. 3 official is retiring after she was promoted to the new position in charge of reform in the department almost 10 months ago.

Barbara West, 53, was selected for the job by interim Police Supt. Charlie Beck, the former Los Angeles police chief who took over after Chicago Police Supt. Eddie Johnson was fired late last year.

West has served on the police force for 26 years, according to a statement released by Police Supt. David Brown on Wednesday night. West was in charge of the Office of Constitutional Policing and Reforms.

She made history when she became the highest-ranking Black woman in the department, Brown said.

“She has blazed a trail that will serve as a model and example for current and future generations of Chicago police officers,” he said.

In her latest job, West led court-ordered reforms required after the U.S. Justice Department found a history of racial bias and use of excessive force by Chicago police officers.

West was a commander in the Harrison and Austin districts on the West Side. She was the first Black woman to lead the Austin district, Brown said.

In a profile in the Chicago Sun-Times in August, West said she was “very excited to be an example” for other women on the department.

Brown’s statement did not say why West is retiring.

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