Emanuel praises Philadelphia's top cop

March 15, 2011

(AP/File)

As Rahm Emanuel looks toward hiring a new Chicago police superintendent, the mayor-elect on Tuesday once again praised Philadelphia's top cop.

Emanuel has not officially endorsed a full-time replacement for Jody Weis, who left the department unexpectedly earlier this month. But when asked about Philadelphia Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey, Emanuel praised his experience.

"I think, without a doubt, if you look at Chuck Ramsey's record, he has all the skills and qualities to do that," Emanuel said.

When it comes to hiring Chicago's next top cop, Emanuel has said he's looking for diversity, an emphasis on community policing and someone who understands that "the beat officer is the backbone of the police department."

Ramsey, an African-American who is native to Chicago, would seem to fit the bill on several counts. He started his law enforcement career as a Chicago police cadet, and worked his way up through the ranks during a nearly 30-year stint with the Chicago Police Department. Ramsey also helped form Chicago's successful community policing program, called CAPS.

Ramsey's credibility with rank and file police officers could also be attractive, especially following the often-tense relations between the Chicago police union and Weis, a former FBI agent who never served as a Chicago cop. Emanuel on Tuesday wouldn't commit to hiring someone with a Chicago police background, saying he's more interested in finding someone who meets his requirements for the job.

Emanuel's transition team would not confirm what candidates he's been talking to about the job.

The independent Chicago Police Board will recommend superintendent candidates to Emanuel, but it's ultimately up to the mayor to decide whom to hire.