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Chicago Police Chief Tasked To Lead Reforms Leaves For Oakland

A Chicago police chief hired six months ago to lead reforms amid a federal investigation is leaving to head up the police department in Oakland, California.

The city hired Anne Kirkpatrick in June to lead the newly-created Bureau of Professional Standards as the department's main liaison with the U.S. Department of Justice.

Lori Lightfoot, president of the Chicago Police Board, said Wednesday that Kirkpatrick’s exit won’t stop reform efforts.

"There’s no job in this process that is dependent upon a single person," Lightfoot said. "It is a collective effort that has to be in place. Yes, of course her departure will have an effect, but someone else, I am confident, will step up to do the work."

Kirkpatrick had been one of three finalists recommended by the Chicago Police Board for the city's top police post, but Mayor Rahm Emanuel rejected the recommendations in March and hired Eddie Johnson. Kirkpatrick had previously held high-ranking law enforcement posts in Washington state, including as Spokane's police chief for six years through 2012. 

In Oakland, she will be tasked with restoring confidence in an agency that cycled through three chiefs in as many weeks this summer after several officers were implicated in a sex scandal with an underage girl. The Oakland Police Department has been under federal court oversight since 2003, and without a chief for seven months.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Claire Donnelly is a reporter for WBEZ. Follow her at @donnellyclairee.

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