Mayor Emanuel's New Choice for Chicago's Top Cop: The Good, the Bad and the Prayer.

Brian Casella picture Tribune
Picture by Brian Casella of the Chicago Tribune

Mayor Emanuel’s New Choice for Chicago’s Top Cop: The Good, the Bad and the Prayer
by Todd Belcore

“Welp, I have good news and I have bad news.”Normally, when people say that, people cringe. Then, they ask for the bad news first and hope that the good news outshines the bad.Today, I’m praying that the same holds true as it relates to Mayor Emanuel’s most recent selection for Chicago’s top cop.The Bad – there were several bad things about the way the decision was made:

  1. Mayor Rahm Emanuel utterly bypassed the formalized process in place to consider, vet and finalize a list of candidates.
  2. By bypassing the process, the Mayor wasted weeks and weeks of time invested by the individuals who recruited, reviewed and interviewed a nationwide pool of applicants for the position.
  3. The level of disregard for the process, and time invested by others participating in the process, was further exacerbated by the fact that the Mayor chose to promote a gentleman who never applied for the top cop spot and possibly never intended to.
  4. Finally, with the Mayor saying unequivocally that he believes that Interim Superintendent Johnson “is the right person” for the job at this time, the Mayor’s decision appears final. So, any effort from the larger community, or elected officials, to weigh-in and demand that the Mayor honor both the process and the immense time committed to  it will not likely result in a different selection being made.

The Good
– fortunately, by as many accounts as I can find, Officer Eddie Johnson is a good choice. Specifically, Officer Johnson:

  1. Has been highly regarded throughout his 27 years of service in the Chicago Police Department.
  2. Is known for his unquestioned integrity and “lead[ing] by example” when it comes to being transparent and accountable as a police officer.
  3. Holds the concerns of both the police and community close to his heart. This was clear when, upon introduction, Interim Superintendent Johnson noted  both the importance of recognizing that the “countless incidents of courage and professionalism far outweigh the few examples of excessive force,” and that “nevertheless, these incidents, no matter how isolated, undermine our department and our relationship with the community.” He even went on to belabor that, “we have to own it, and we have to end it. Let me say that again. We have to own it, and we have to end it.”

The Prayer
– at this point, despite the several bad things associated with this decision, we love our city too much to ignore the good. And, with that, I pray that the Mayor made the right decision and that Interim Superintendent Johnson brings this city, and its residents, the peace and quality of life they have too long been denied.

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