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July 27, 2007
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Chicago's next top cop faces many challenges

By Angela Rozas and Gary Washburn
The Chicago Tribune

CHICAGO The last time Mayor Richard Daley chose a police superintendent, the city was battling violent crime totals that for several years made Chicago the murder capital of the country. But in four years in the post, Supt. Philip Cline oversaw a drop in murders to some of the lowest levels in 40 years, a feat with which he should have been retiring with honor.

Instead, Cline's crime-fighting legacy has been marred with international coverage of videotaped beatings of civilians by off-duty officers and complaints that police have not done enough to root out corruption. Those criticisms contributed to changes in the city agency that investigates police misconduct and contributed to Cline's early retirement this summer.

Among the next top cop's first challenges will be restoring faith in the Police Department, both inside and out, insiders and community leaders say.

To that end, two of the three finalists for superintendent, Chicago Police Deputy Supt. Charles Williams and Thomas Belfiore, commissioner of New York's Westchester County Department of Public Safety, have long experience in rooting out corruption within the ranks.

The third, Chicago Police Deputy Supt. Hiram Grau, brings a criminal investigative background that could also prove valuable in continuing Cline's success in lowering the homicide rate in the city.

In applying for the top cop job, the candidates had to answer how they planned to address allegations of police misconduct and build greater public trust in the police department. The issue of police integrity was high on the list of concerns of the Chicago Police Board, which recommended the three as finalists, said its president, Demetrius Carney.

"Police officers have to realize that the citizens of Chicago are really their customer base, and they have to be accountable to the people," Carney said.

Daley has a reputation for preferring homegrown candidates for top city jobs. When Cline was selected, the mayor passed over a senior New York City police commander from among the finalists.

But Daley demonstrated last week he doesn't automatically write off outsiders when he named Ilana Rosenzweig to head the police Office of Professional Standards. Rosenzweig, a lawyer who helped handle police misconduct complaints in Los Angeles, got the nod over two undisclosed Chicago finalists

Copyright 2007 The Chicago Tribune

Full story: Chicago's next top cop faces many challenges

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