CPD supervisors reassigned following claims they fostered hostile work environment
The internal affairs bureau is investigating the employment opportunity complaints that were logged in response to accusations of discrimination.
Two supervisors overseeing the Chicago Police Department’s community policing office were reassigned amid a series of complaints from staffers, the Chicago Sun-Times has learned.
Tapped in January to lead the office, Cmdr. Galen Caldwell was accused of referring to a secretary as a “b----” during a staff meeting in March and calling another woman “sexy” just days later, according to two sources with knowledge of the incidents.
Capt. Carlin Morse also faces complaints of changing his clothes in his cubicle in view of colleagues and aggressively grabbing the arm of a female co-worker, the sources said.
“Essentially what we have going on is a huge hostile work environment,” one of the sources said of the office, which, among other things, conducts outreach to vulnerable communities and provides services to victims of domestic violence and sexual misconduct perpetrated by officers.
The police department’s internal affairs bureau is investigating the string of equal employment opportunity complaints, which are logged in response to allegations of discrimination.
Caldwell didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment. Morse declined to discuss the allegations, saying only: “I am honored to serve the citizens of the city of Chicago.”
A source said Caldwell and Morse were removed from the office’s chain of command on April 22 and April 28, respectively.
A police spokesperson wouldn’t discuss what prompted the personnel moves but said Caldwell has been detailed to the special functions division that supports patrol operations, while Morse was sent to the Lincoln District.
“People were happy to hear that they were being moved,” a source said.
But sources said the first complaint, filed on April 20, stemmed from comments Caldwell allegedly made while introducing his secretaries during a meeting over a month earlier.
“‘This one is the nice one,’” one source recalled Caldwell saying at the March 16 meeting at police headquarters. “‘This one is the b----.’”
That same complaint included a separate allegation that Caldwell made another off-color remark to a female co-worker who passed him in a hallway five days later.
“‘I’d move aside for you, sexy,’” one source claimed Caldwell said before he allegedly “hovered” around another woman’s desk.
Morse, meanwhile, was first accused of grabbing a subordinate’s arm as she spoke during an April 19 staff meeting — something the sources said he’d previously done repeatedly as a way to talk over his colleague.
When she pulled her arm away, one source said he insisted, “‘This is not an EEOC complaint.’” She then contradicted him and sent a clear message, the source said, saying: “‘Don’t touch me again.’” Just over a week later, on April 27, the complaint was filed.
A source said Morse was later accused in a May 3 complaint of regularly changing clothes in his cubicle and walking around in an undershirt with his pants unbuttoned. Women who worked nearby “felt uncomfortable” and would often leave the shared space, the source said.
The upheaval is just the latest example of turmoil in the Office of Community Policing, which is crucial to the department’s community outreach and reform efforts.
Last February, the Chicago Reader reported that its LGBTQ+ liaison office had been whittled down to a single officer after the citywide liaison resigned over frustrations about how the team was being utilized.
Mayor Lori Lightfoot, who is gay, campaigned on launching the LGBTQ+ liaison office as a way to bolster criminal investigations involving members of that community. But instead of meeting that goal, a source said the liaisons were mostly used to increase the department’s meager patrol ranks.
Only one additional LGBTQ+ liaison officer has since been hired, according to the source, who said that leaves the city with two openings for similar posts and others for homeless and religious minority liaisons.