The search is underway for Chicago’s next police superintendent.
Mayor elect-Brandon Johnson selected Fred Waller to lead the Chicago Police Department until a permanent superintendent is chosen.
Until then, the city’s Community Commission for Public Safety and Accountability is in charge of recommending three candidates to Johnson by July 14.
The commission has already had a few forums across the city to get input from residents.
“They’ve been going extremely well,” Commissioner Remel Terry said. “We’ve received a lot of support for these forums, which is why we’ve had to expand them beyond the four that we initially planned. So we have about three additional ones. Residents are very excited about this process and for being heard, and we’re excited to have them be a part of it.”
About 40 to 50 people have been able to go to the microphone at each forum, according to the commission.
Anthony Driver, the commission’s president, said there’s been an outpour of personal stories at the forums.
“Our smallest attendance has been 150 people and that was actually our virtual one,” Driver said. “People are coming out, they’re making their voice heard, they’re showing personal testimonials and sharing what they’d like to see in our next superintendent, which is very helpful for us. We actually take those questions and ask them directly to superintendent candidates. … People who were telling very intimate details of their life and experience with policing. I’ve heard mostly that folks want somebody who’s engaged and who is a leader, that there’s been a real lack of leadership in the department and they want that to change.”
Auburn Gresham resident Quaintance Motley believes there needs to be a sense of responsibility within the department as well.
“Two words that I keep hearing are transparency and accountability,” Motley said at a community forum in Auburn Gresham on April 19. “I have not heard the word responsibility. So when you put all three of those words together, that’s when you have a viable community. That’s when you have an understanding amongst each other.”
Johnson said Waller will not be a candidate to serve as the permanent superintendent.
“I think our needs are really consistent with what we’ve been hearing from the community and even some of the officers or those leadership that we’ve spoken with,” Driver said. “We really want someone who has strong morals, who is an effective leader because we do need to ensure that officers inside of the department are willing to follow this person. That is very important. And what we’re also looking for is someone who is able to pull together the community.”
The deadline for police superintendent candidates to apply is Sunday, May 7, and as of Thursday, the commission had received 17 applications.
On Monday, Driver’s team will hold a press conference to update the public on the number of applications, and will begin the interview process.