Chicago Officials Expected to Announce Interim Police Superintendent
Johnson and Mayor Lori Lightfoot are expected to hold a press conference Friday morning, though exact timing remains unclear. (A live feed of the event will be streamed in the player above)
Beck comes highly recommended by the law enforcement community, with former LAPD chief and NYC police commissioner Bill Bratton calling the decision a “good move.”
Although he has not confirmed if he would accept the position, there had been speculation he might be named Friday. Doing so would allow the police board to conduct its search for a permanent replacement.
“I’ve seen a lot of speculation about different names, some of which are wildly offbase,” she said Wednesday.
On another hand, Charlie Beck is 66 years old and mandatory CPD retirement age is 63, though he can take the job as a civilian.
“This is a tough moment for me personally,” Lightfoot said. “We return him back to the loving arms of his wife and children.”
“CPD needs strong leadership and I want the next top cop to continue making improvements to public safety and in the department that I love,” Johnson said.
Lightfoot acknowledged Thursday that Johnson “continues to have my unwavering confidence and support.”
“He took on a job he did not apply for at a time when our city could have come apart,” she said.
Johnson made the major announcement following days of speculation and hints.
“It’s time for someone else to pin these four stars to their shoulders,” he said on the verge of tears in a press conference. “These stars can sometimes feel like carrying the weight of the world, but I’m confident that I leave CPD in a better place than when I became superintendent.”
Johnson acknowledged that being the city’s top cop “has taken its toll.”
“Taken a toll on my health, my family, my friends, but my integrity remains in tact,” he said.
The decision comes days after Johnson, who is currently the center of an investigation, said he was considering retirement so he could spend more time with his family.
Johnson told reporters that his decision was not related to the recent investigation into an incident in which he was found asleep behind the wheel of his SUV.
Lightfoot said Johnson admitted to her that he “had a couple of drinks” before he was found asleep behind the wheel of his car last month at a stop sign.
Johnson initially said a change in medication triggered the incident and he felt “lightheaded” while driving, but Lightfoot later clarified during an interview with the Sun-Times that Johnson revealed “he had a couple of drinks with dinner.”
Johnson ordered an internal investigation of the incident, citing the need for “transparency.”
“Whether you are a police officer or a superintendent, all officers ought to be held to the highest standard,” Johnson said through a spokesperson.
Johnson underwent successful kidney transplant surgery in 2017. His private health battle at the time became public in January 2017 when he almost fainted at a news conference after he said a reaction to blood sugar medication made him lightheaded. Johnson’s donated kidney came from his son.