UPDATED 03/03/11 5:55 p.m.
CHICAGO (CBS) — Mayor-elect Rahm Emanuel says he doesn’t want to waste any time in finding a new leader for the Chicago Police Department.
As WBBM Newsradio 780’s Mike Krauser reports, the mayor-elect said there’s a process, and he will be following it.
He is not tipping his hand whether he’d like an insider or outsider on the job. But he wants to move, as he said, “with due speed.”
“We need to not miss a step when it comes to public safety,” he said. ‘We have about a thousand more police that I’ve committed to, to getting on the streets. We have a comprehensive after-school program to get kids off the streets. We’ve got to make sure we’re prosecuting the gun crimes that are committed, and I think a superintendent, a new superintendent who shares that vision and commitment is essential.”
Emanuel also complimented interim Supt. Terry Hilliard for taking the job in the meantime.
Hillard came out of retirement after controversial Supt. Jody Weis resigned on Tuesday. Among many in the city, the guessing game is on regarding who will next call the shots as top cop.
Nobody is watching more closely than the rank-and-file officers.
LISTEN: Newsradio 780’s Mike Krauser reports
The officers say they continue to suffer from chronic poor morale, brought on by Mayor Richard M. Daley’s choice of Weis, at a time when the department was rocked by brutality allegations and other scandals.
But officers didn’t think Weis had their backs, particularly when he subjected Officer Bill Cozzi to a new federal prosecution and prison time after the officer had already been convicted and sentenced to probation for beating a man in a wheelchair.
Opinions differ on the type of superintendent Chicago needs.
South Side activist Father Michael Pfleger says the next top cop should do more than fight crime.
“We’ve got to bridge this gap between the community and the police,” he told CBS 2’s Dana Kozlov. “There’s that wedge there.”
Rev. Ira Acree agrees, but says support among officers is important, too.
“We need a person who can instantly build morale,” he said.
Outgoing Fraternal Order of Police president Mark Donahue says the next superintendent should come from the ranks – unlike Weis, who was an outsider.
“I think it’s one of the greatest attributes that a superintendent can have,” Donahue said.
Community leaders say they want the best candidate, regardless of where he comes from.
Since resigning, Weis has made a suggestion himself for a possible replacement. He said he would like to see Emanuel appoint William Bratton, who has headed up police departments in Boston, New York City and Los Angeles, and whom Weis calls the best in the country.