Northwestern School of Professional Studies student Eddie Johnson named interim superintendent of Chicago Police Department


Source: CPD on Facebook

Eddie Johnson (right).

Christine Farolan, Copy Chief

Northwestern School of Professional Studies student Eddie Johnson is taking over as the interim superintendent of the Chicago Police Department following the firing of Garry McCarthy, Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced Monday.

Emanuel chose Johnson, who was not one of the Police Board’s three nominees, and said he was looking for someone who could ensure citizens’ safety, increase police officers’ morale and “restore trust and accountability in the police department,” according to a news release.

Johnson, a Chicago native who began working with the CPD in 1988, was promoted from his previous position as chief of patrol and is currently completing a degree in public policy and administration from NU.

“Eddie has proven to be a terrific leader and fair boss who puts his officers first and has their backs,” Emanuel said in the news release. “He has also been willing to hold officers accountable when necessary.”

Mary Morley Cohen, the associate dean of academic programs at SPS, said the unique focus of the public policy and administration program on both “strategic thinking and practical skills,” makes it particularly helpful to students looking to navigate and function well within public service or government agencies such as CPD.

“People who go through our program are very savvy about decision-making,” she told The Daily. “We have a big focus on analytic thinking and that’s something that … can help people in management positions do a better job of allocating scarce resources, which is clearly something that is always a challenge in a public setting.”

Johnson’s appointment comes at a time of public concern regarding the police and the handling of cases of police violence, such as the murder of Laquan McDonald. The 17-year-old black teenager was shot 16 times and killed by a CPD officer in 2014, but the officer was not indicted until over a year later.

Ald. Roderick Sawyer (6th), chairman of Chicago’s City Council’s black caucus, and Ald. George Cardenas (12th), chairman of the Latino caucus, supported the mayor’s choice in a statement, but noted that they had high expectations for Johnson.

“We weren’t trying to usurp the choice,” Sawyer told the Chicago Tribune. “We wanted to make sure that that person was going to work with us, work with our communities … and that could institute initiatives that could promote transparency and that people could really come to trust the police department once again.”

Johnson’s interim term began with Emanuel’s appointment Monday. The mayor has asked the Police Board to conduct another search for the police superintendent in the future, according to the news release.

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