Charlie Beck, who retired last year as top cop of the Los Angeles Police Department, was officially introduced Friday morning as Chicago’s interim police superintendent, replacing outgoing Chief Eddie Johnson.
“This department can be the change, this department can be the glue that can hold this city together,” Beck said at City Hall press conference, standing between Mayor Lori Lightfoot and Johnson, whom he called “my close friend.”
“Even though my stay here will be brief, I look forward to working with the residents … learning about their needs and making this a better place,” Beck said.
Beck, 66, who served more than 40 years with the LAPD, led that department at a time when scrutiny of police officers was especially high.
Bill Bratton, who served as LAPD chief before Beck, said last year that Beck was able to navigate a fiscal crisis within the LAPD while improving relations between the department and the city’s African-American community after the shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri.
“He was able to move forward and keep the ship on course in very turbulent waters,” Bratton told the Los Angeles Times at Beck’s retirement ceremony in June 2018.
Earl Paysinger, a retired LAPD assistant chief, said Beck would, in time, go down as “the most gifted chief who ever led the LAPD,” according to the Times.
In a 2018 interview with The Crime Report, Beck said that he sat down and wrote out a plan for reform when he assumed the reins of the LAPD.
Beck conceded that one of the biggest challenges in reforming a police department is getting buy-in from rank-and-file officers. The Fraternal Order of Police, which represents CPD officers, has been a vocal critic of the federal consent decree that was spurred by the release of the Laquan McDonald shooting video.
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