Charlie Beck Named Interim Chicago Police Superintendent, As Eddie Johnson Retires – CBS Chicago


CHICAGO (CBS) — The day after Police Supt. Eddie Johnson said he would retire at year’s end, Mayor Lori Lightfoot moved quickly to name an outsider, former Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck, as interim superintendent.

Beck spent more than 40 years with the Los Angeles department, leading as its chief from late 2009 until June, 2018.

Beck left behind significant challenges in Los Angeles.

Violent crime rose for four straight years (2013-2017) after 12 years of declines.

Police shootings went up while dropping in other large U.S. cities, and the department was a focal point of criticism by the local Black Lives Matter movement, whose members regularly attended the meetings of the Board of Police Commissioners to chastise the department over the shootings of civilians.

Beck, 66, implemented a program that would encourage de-escalation tactics. Those policies caused some controversy among police rank and file.

“I try to talk empathy all the time with my officers. You have to understand where people come from. You have to understand that their experiences are different than yours and that may affect the way they see things,” Beck told CBS Los Angeles in September, 2016.

“Literally, a Los Angeles police officer, those two men or women in that car, have the power to take away your life, liberty and property in ways that nobody, not even the president of the United States has. And that has to be tempered by responsibility. And that has to be tempered by oversight, and that’s my job,” Beck said.

The Chicago police union, not surprisingly, would like somebody from within the Chicago Police Department named to the permanent top spot. Prior to Johnson, that hadn’t happened since 2003 when Phil Cline was appointed by then-Mayor Richard M. Daley.

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