‘We’re not here to serve an administration’ – Chicago Tribune

‘We’re not here to serve an administration’ – Chicago Tribune

With Superintendent David Brown’s exit from the Chicago Police Department taking effect Thursday, the new community-led body responsible for finding candidates to replace him laid out their priorities and the search timeline at a Wednesday press conference.

Members of the Community Commission for Public Safety and Accountability also sent a clear message about its own autonomy from the future mayor.

“This is an independent body. We will work closely with whoever is on the 5th floor, whoever is the mayor, but our commission is here to serve the community. We’re not here to serve an administration. We’re not here to serve the City Council. We are here to serve our community, and they are members of our community, so their input will be very valuable,” commission President Anthony Driver said.

Commissioners said they had not heard yet from either mayoral candidates Brandon Johnson or Paul Vallas but warned both away from submitting a short list of superintendent candidates they’d like to see. “They have not tried to put a name on the list, and I also believe that that would be inappropriate,” Driver said.

Brown announced his resignation March 1 — the day after Vallas and Johnson bested incumbent Mayor Lori Lightfoot in the first round of voting to advance to the April 4 runoff election.

Asked Wednesday how much the candidates’ stated preference for an insider was weighing on their search, Driver simply replied, “It’s not.”

This is the first time the seven-member CCPSA is leading the search for the city’s top cop. The Police Board, a disciplinary body, led before them, but recent mayors have made their preferred candidates known. Lightfoot’s predecessor, Mayor Rahm Emanuel, with the help of the City Council, once subverted the Police Board process entirely in selecting Eddie Johnson as his superintendent.

The CCPSA is looking for a “visionary leader who’s willing to take bold action. We need a superintendent who can inspire and lead and who can bring people together, who can foster healing. I hope we chart a new path towards a brighter and more just future for all Chicagoans. The safety of our communities depend on it,” Driver said. “This is the first time that communities have a voice in this process in forever.”

Commissioner Remel Terry added candidates will need a “proven track record of increasing public safety and working collaboratively with a wide range of people. This includes Black communities and other communities of color, marginalized groups and historically disenfranchised populations.”

The CCPSA is issuing a request for qualifications for a search firm to help their efforts within the next 30 days. The commission is holding at least four public meetings across the city to allow members of the public to provide recommendations. The panel will also “engage deeply to seek the input” of Chicago police officers, as well as local and national experts.

Driver said he’d recently gone on a ride-along and met officers. “And I think it was pretty clear that a lot of them felt that the superintendent at the time didn’t have their backs,” he said. “Our officers are part of our community, too. They live in the city of Chicago, so their input is also valuable. We’re looking for somebody who can get buy-in from the residents, buy-in from the department rank and file, and buy-in from the brass and the administration. … It’s a lot of boxes, and we’re looking for a very unique and qualified person.”

After community and expert outreach, the group will finalize the job description and post the position publicly for 30 days. The commission hopes to have 60 days to narrow down the list, conduct interviews and background checks, and submit their three finalists to the mayor by July 14.

Asked whether the commission would be open to welcoming a non-sworn or civilian leader, Driver said, “Everything’s on the table.”

Source : https://www.chicagotribune.com/politics/ct-chicago-police-superintendent-search-commission-20230315-vyq4tcpnurggvl5o7jbek4ygty-story.html#ed=rss_www.chicagotribune.com/arcio/rss/category/news/

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