Fifty-three people applied to lead the beleaguered Chicago Police Department, the president of the commission charged with picking CPD’s next top cop said Wednesday.
That represents a significant increase from 2020, the last time Chicago needed a new chief law enforcement officer, when 23 people applied for the job.
The applications, which were due Sunday, came from all over the nation, while 32 candidates to be Chicago’s next police superintendent have current or former ties to the Chicago Police Department. Mayor-elect Brandon Johnson has said he wants the department’s new leader to come from its ranks.
Community Commission for Public Safety and Accountability President Anthony Driver said the commission, which began its search in early March after former Supt. David Brown quit after Mayor Lori Lightfoot lost her bid for reelection, was pleased with what he called a “diverse pool” of applicants.
“This historic search represents a transformative opportunity to shape the future of law enforcement in our city,” Driver said.
Johnson has promised to re-envision public safety in Chicago to address the root causes of crime and violence by increasing funding for youth employment programs and expanding mental health services across the city. Johnson has also promised to solve more crimes by adding 200 detectives to the Chicago Police Department.
The commission, known as the CCPSA, has held four forums to gather feedback from Chicagoans on what they want from the next head of the police department. The two final forums are set for Wednesday at Kennedy High School and May 22 at the Beverly Arts Center.
Brown was replaced by interim Supt. Eric Carter, who will step down May 15, the same day Johnson takes office. Johnson tapped Fred Waller, who resigned from the department in August 2020 after serving as CPD’s third-ranking official.
Waller said Friday he would not apply to serve as the department’s permanent superintendent, and Driver confirmed that Waller was not among the 53 applicants.
Forty-two of the applicants are male. The Chicago Police Department has never had a female superintendent, and women make up just 26% of the department’s employees, according to city data.
Twenty-four applicants are White, 22 are Black and seven are Latino, Driver said. The Chicago Police Department employees are 41.8% White, 22% Black and 31.3% Latino, according to city data.
The commission has until July 14 to recommend three finalists.
The mayor will then have 30 days to choose one or ask for another slate of options before asking the Chicago City Council to confirm his choice.
Contact Heather Cherone: @HeatherCherone | (773) 569-1863 | [email protected]