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Daley Plans Long Run for New Top Cop

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Daley Plans Long Run for New Top Cop

Chicago Mayor Richard Daley has finally made his choice for the city’s next police superintendent. This comes almost eight months after former Superintendent Phil Cline announced his retirement. Cline left after several high profile cases of police misconduct led to questions of accountability. Now Jody Weis, the top FBI agent in Philadelphia, has been nominated by the mayor.

In a speech yesterday, Jody Weis said he planned to improve the level of trust between police and city residents. That’s a tall order after an especially controversial year for the department. One particularly graphic example was caught on video. It showed an off-duty officer beating a female bartender.

WEIS: Well, that’s horrific. That is absolutely horrific behavior and that cannot be tolerated.

Weiss says his 22 years with the FBI, including three years in Chicago, will help him. He says the feds do a good job of policing their own.

WEIS: You know, I’ve got to set the tone right from the beginning: you know that this type of behavior won’t be tolerated. And I’ve got to put that through all the command staff. I’ve got to pick a command staff that will not allow that type of behavior to take place. It all starts at the top. It all starts with leadership.

But Weis’ message for the department includes a clear olive branch. He says if officers follow department policies, he’ll have their back.

WEIS: I admire them so much. To walk up in a car at 2:30 in the morning, not knowing what’s inside that car, that takes courage. Those men and women are heroes.

DONAHUE: Well, we appreciate his respect for the job.

Mark Donahue is president of Chicago’s Fraternal Order of Police. He says the union’s not going to take an official position on Weis’ nomination. But he says the FOP did urge the mayor to pick someone from within the department.

DONAHUE: I would say that some members of the department would be disappointed by an outside choice, especially those in the hierarchy of the department who maybe had ambitions. And we do have quality individuals in this department that I feel could have filled that position.

But some members of the city council were pleased the mayor looked outside Chicago.

Alderman Toni Preckwinkle has been among the harshest critics of police brass.

PRECKWINKLE: We have, over the last several years, had insiders who were picked to run the department, and we’ve had some profound accountability issues that have not been addressed. So maybe an outsider can address those.

Those issues have led to a serious lack of trust with some of Chicago’s minority communities.

Preckwinkle says she hopes Weis, who is white, focuses on improving diversity on the force.

PRECKWINKLE: You know, I’ve said that you don’t have to be African American, Latino or female to be committed to diversity, although it helps.

Mayor Daley was asked about the race issue yesterday.

DALEY: I’ve had people say African American, I’ve had people say Hispanic, Asian, women. I’ve had that all the time.

But after a nationwide search, Daley says he picked the best person for the job. The mayor says Weis is going to be superintendent for a long time—pending city council approval, of course.

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