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Meeting the Deadline or Getting it Right?

By Ken Hare

Chicago Defender Staff Writer

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The newly appointed Police Board tasked with finding Chicago’s next police chief  has missed its deadline. Headed by Lori Lightfoot, the former federal prosecutor stated in an interview “We need a great leader who can heal, unite and protect us in these uncertain times,” she said.

The Police Board were to initially submit a short list of candidates to the Mayor at the end of February. However, given the sensitive nature and complexity of the job requirements, this has apparently delayed the vetting process. According to a statement issued to the press, Ms. Lightfoot stated:  “We believe that getting the best candidates to lead the Chicago Police Department at this moment in time is of the utmost importance.”

In addition to creating a short list out of the 39 potential candidates that applied, the Police Board has also been tasked with making meaningful reforms to policing accountability and its perceived culture of impunity within the Chicago Police Department. Hosting four forums on police accountability, the Police Accountability Task Force (PATF), met with residents throughout Chicago and heard testimony on how to go about reforming the police department and making it a 21st century model of policing.

In meetings that sometimes turned hostile, Chicagoans expressed their frustrations and distrust of the Chicago Police Department, States Attorney, Anita Alvarez and Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s handling of police shootings and policing in Black and brown communities across the city. The Chicago Defender reported about the task force meetings and wrote about two of the potential candidates: click here: https://chicagodefender.com/2016/02/17/is-police-accountability-possible/ and here: https://chicagodefender.com/2016/02/24/chicagos-top-cop-position-sought-out-by/

“… the board’s diligence process continues and we will make our recommendations as soon as possible,” Lightfoot stated in an interview.

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