New Chicago Police Superintendent Jody Weis has ordered a historic shake-up of the city’s 25 police districts — a sweeping move immediately questioned by a Chicago alderman and the head of the police union, reports the Chicago Sun-Times. Weis announced yesterday that 21 districts will receive new commanders. The department’s last major command changes occurred in 2003 when then-Superintendent Phil Cline appointed seven new district commanders.
“There is always a concern in making such a big change all at once,” Fraternal Order of Police President Mark Donahue said, noting that Weis is replacing some seasoned commanders with untested ones. Alderman Freddrenna Lyle said all four of the district commanders serving her South Side ward were replaced. “I’m a little shocked at the enormity of it — to make all of these wholesale changes at one time,” Lyle said. “Overall, my commanders were doing a good job. The problems we were having out here were manpower problems, not management problems. He didn’t consult us.” Weis said the moves reflect his “commitment to diversifying the ranks” and “promoting members with a strong work ethic.” Mayor Richard Daley, who hired Weis away from the FBI in November, said he supported the moves by his $310,000-a-year superintendent. Weis replaced Cline, who oversaw a major decline in crime during his tenure but was unable to weather a series of scandals that angered the mayor.