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Chicago Police Board President: We’ll Be Independent in Police Hiring

Lori Lightfoot says Mayor Rahm Emanuel will not have any influence on the board during the search for Garry McCarthy’s replacement.

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Chicago Police Board President: We’ll Be Independent in Police Hiring


Chicago Police Board president Lori Lightfoot says she and her board will pick nominees for the city’s next top cop — without input from Mayor Rahm Emanuel.

Emanuel asked for the resignation of Superintendent Garry McCarthy earlier this week.

The Chicago Municipal Code gives the civilian police board the power to nominate three people to fill a vacancy for police chief. The panel then is to send those nominations to the mayor, who makes the final choice.

The code guiding the police board’s selections process has only two requirements: The board has to make three recommendations to the mayor, and the candidates don’t have to live in Chicago. The rest is up to the board’s nine members.

Lightfoot said the board will meet next week to begin making its plan.

Emanuel is famously controlling, but Lightfoot said she is sure the mayor won’t interfere with the board’s selection process.

“I don’t think I have to worry about keeping the mayor out of the process,” she responded. “The mayor understands very well what the process is. I’m confident he respects the independence that the police board must absolutely exercise.”

Lightfoot said the board’s first steps will include planning an application process and publicizing it. They’ll be reaching out to well-known and well-respected law enforcement fraternity groups, and making sure they also reach out to people of color and to women, so people understand it is intended to be an open process. She said part of that will be a system for community engagement.

“In the discussion about the police superintendent, this is Chicago,” she said, “ so lots of folks have lots of opinions about the way the department runs, who the superintendent should be, [and] what the qualities of that person are.”

Cate Cahan is a WBEZ editor.

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