Chicago Considers 3 Finalists To Lead Ailing Police Department

Mar 17, 2016
Originally published on March 17, 2016 6:23 pm
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ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

In Chicago, one thing is clear. Whoever is chosen as the next police superintendent will face big hurdles. The former superintendent lost his job after protesters took to the streets over the police shooting of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald. Today, the city's police board announced the three finalists for the job. NPR's Cheryl Corley reports.

CHERYL CORLEY, BYLINE: The head of Chicago's Police Board Lori Lightfoot says during this surge, residents got a chance to talk about their concerns about the police at public hearings. Lightfoot says the board focused on selecting candidates who could rebuild trust.

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LORI LIGHTFOOT: We have to have a leader who understands that engaging and embracing the community in an incredibly respectful way has to be every bit as important as fighting crime in those neighborhoods.

CORLEY: Three finalists were chosen from 39 applicants. They are Eugene Williams, a deputy chief in Chicago; Cedric Alexander, a public safety director in Georgia; and Anne Kirkpatrick, a retired Washington state police chief who'd become the first woman to lead the force. Chuck Wexler, the head of a Washington-based police think tank, says whoever gets the job will have their work cut out for them.

CHUCK WEXLER: You still have a city where the police take more guns off the street than New York and Los Angeles combined.

CORLEY: And there's been 114 murders in the city so far, double last year's count at this time. Despite those challenges, he and Lori Lightfoot say a new Chicago superintendent will have opportunities to make a tremendous impact on policing. The final choice will be up to Chicago's mayor. Cheryl Corley, NPR News, Chicago. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.