A collage of recent top cops in Chicago. Top row, from left: David Brown, Eddie Johnson, Garry McCarthy, Jody Weis. Bottom row, from left: Phil Cline, Terry Hillard, Matt Rodriguez and most recent interim Superintendent Charlie Beck. (WTTW News photos)

Chicago has seen more police chiefs than mayors in its nearly 200-year history. Occupants of the powerful, high-profile position walk a political tightrope, and have suffered some epic falls. Here’s a look at the legacy of the city’s most recent superintendents. 

Charlie Beck held his first press conference as interim police superintendent Tuesday, a day after Eddie Johnson was abruptly fired as top cop. What can the city expect from Beck? And what’s next for a department already laboring under a consent decree?

In this file photo, John Escalante speaks with WTTW News in March 2016 when he served as the interim Chicago police superintendent. (WTTW News)

What lies ahead for Chicago’s next top cop? And what’s the job like? We asked John Escalante, who served as interim Chicago police superintendent following the ouster of Garry McCarthy in 2015. 


After a nationwide search that lasted nearly four months, three finalists for Chicago police superintendent were named. Among them are 36-year Chicago police veteran Eugene Williams and two outsiders, Cedric Alexander and Anne Kirkpatrick.

John Escalante

A startling rise in homicides to start the year has public officials searching for answers. Chicago's interim Police Superintendent on Tuesday sought to explain the spike in crime and how he plans to address it.


Less than two weeks into the new year, Chicago has already had a dramatic spike in violence. This morning, Chicago's interim police superintendent said he is frustrated at the city's ongoing violent crime, calling it a daunting issue for his beleaguered police force. Eddie Arruza has the story.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel and interim police Superintendent John Escalante, right, announce police reforms.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel announces what he calls "major" new police reforms, including the use of more Tasers, in the wake of last weekend's deadly police shooting.


City officials make further moves to reform police training in the wake of this weekend's deadly police-involved shootings. This, as the family of one victim who was accidentally shot and killed is speaking out.