Chicago's next top cop faces many challenges
By Angela Rozas and Gary Washburn
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.
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.
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.
Copyright 2007 The Chicago Tribune
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