Whoever takes the job as Chicago’s next police superintendent has a daunting to-do list, says the Chicago Tribune. Included: Heal a deep lack of public trust, cooperate with a federal civil rights investigation into the use of force reform a police department with a history of corruption, deal with intractable gun and gang problems and work for a famously demanding mayor governing in the midst of his most severe crisis. Mayor Rahm Emanuel will hire the successor to Garry McCarthy to navigate the turbulent environment that has erupted since the court-ordered release of a video showing a white police officer shooting a black teen to death.
Law enforcement experts say the new top cop should have a strong personality, understand police work and its dangerous nature, and recognize past abuses. If Chicago is to realize true change, they say, it’s important that the new top cop have a large measure of independence from the mayor and the freedom to make decisions without political influence. Relinquishing such authority to a strong-willed police superintendent could be difficult for Emanuel, who is known for hands-on governing and asserting tight control over many facets of city government. “What the politicians rarely understand is what it takes to completely transform an intransigent, warrior, predator police department,” said Connie Rice, a civil rights attorney and police critic who was asked to help lead Los Angeles reform efforts.