Chicago Loses Police Superintendent in Time of Need

Photo Credit/Arvell Dorsey Jr.

Photo Credit/Arvell Dorsey Jr.

Regina Trejo, Music Editor

On Dec. 1, 2015, Mayor Rahm Emanuel requested that Chicago Police Department (CPD) Superintendent, Garry McCarthy resign from his position.

57-year-old Garry McCarthy served a long line of duty in various police departments.

When Emanuel took office as Mayor of Chicago in May of 2011, he selected Garry McCarthy as the Chicago Police Department’s Superintendent. McCarthy was a well respected police officer in the New York Police Department during the mid-1990’s. After his outstanding work in New York City, he was selected as the Superintendent  for the Newark Police Department in 2003.

On December 1, Emanuel said, “This morning I formally asked Superintendent McCarthy for his resignation…undeniable fact that the public trust in the leadership of the department has been shaken and eroded.” The reason for the removal of McCarthy from his position was due to the Laquan McDonald case.

Laquan McDonald, a 17-year-old Chicagoan, was shot and killed by Chicago Police Officer Jason Van Dyke on October 20, 2014. McDonald was walking, knife in hand, away from where the police officers had pulled up to follow him. Van Dyke pulled out his gun a mere six seconds after arriving at the scene. Within 15 seconds, Van Dyke shot McDonald 16 times.

Police allege that the boy was assaulting officers, including Van Dyke, but McDonald was never videotaped even looking at the officer. The video of McDonald’s death was not released until the end of 2015. The nearby Burger King had a surveillance camera with the tape of the shooting, yet 86 minutes of the film were gone. Those 86 minutes included the period in which Van Dyke pulled his gun and shot McDonald to death.

Once the dash cam videos were released to the public, one year after the event, Chicagoans started to riot against the injustice of the case. The Black Lives Matter movement has made headway across the nation, especially in Chicago as a result of this case.

After Garry McCarthy lost his position, First Deputy John Escalante has been serving as acting Superintendent of the Chicago Police Department.

Escalante holds the position of Chief of Bureau of Detectives for the CPD. While filling in as Superintendent, he would like to create the most diverse command staff. So far, he has made cuts and changes in the CPD staffing. Now, half of the police chiefs and deputy chiefs are black. Escalante has also made gender changes by giving more women executive leadership roles.

On this matter, Escalante said, “I too would like, hopefully through this recruitment drive, to get enough people of all races, genders, religions. It’s a diverse city.”

The Chicago Police Department is conducting a nationwide search for a new Superintendent.

An 8 page application for the position was posted online on December 10, 2015. The deadline for the application was on January 15, 2016.

The CPD claims that it is, “the nation’s second largest police agency, serves a diverse population of about 2.7 million persons residing within Chicago’s 228 square miles.”

In the application, the role of Superintendent is described. The man or woman who earns the job will be responsible for the “general management and control of the Department” and has “full and complete authority to administer the Department in a manner consistent with the ordinances of the City, the laws of the state, and the rules and regulations of the Police Board.” The Superintendent also reports directly to the Mayor, the overseer.

The application also makes note that each of the last seven Superintendents had served at least three years. They might have added this fact to enhance the appeal to applicants that their job will most likely be secure for at least a few years.

The application requires a resume, four references, four letters of recommendation, three essays no more than three pages typed and double spaced, a statement of authorship, and an authorization to prepare an investigative report.

At the date of this publication, no one has been named the new Superintendent of the Chicago Police Department.