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Ex-Top Cops, Emanuel Appointee, Search For Chief To Investigate Police

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CHICAGO (STMW) — Mayor Rahm Emanuel on Monday named a former Chicago Police superintendent, an activist-priest and the trusted co-chair of his transition team to a committee that will search for a new chief for the agency that investigates police misconduct.

Sarah Pang, a recent Emanuel appointee to the RTA board, will chair the committee that will search for a $161-856-a-year replacement for Ilana Rosenzweig as chief administrator of the Independent Police Review Authority (IPRA).

Pang was the co-chair of Emanuel’s transition team who was instrumental in the selection of Garry McCarthy as Chicago Police superintendent. She also is a former top aide and public safety liaison to former Mayor Richard M. Daley.

Joining Pang on the committee are: former Chicago Police Superintendent Terry Hillard, whose appointment as superintendent Pang helped engineer; the Rev. Michael Pfleger; Ald. Deborah Graham (29th) and Michael Rodriguez, executive director of the non-profit formerly known as the Little Village Community Development Corporation.

Hillard served as interim superintendent after the resignation of Police Superintendent Jody Weis and before Emanuel settled on McCarthy. The security consulting firm that Hillard co-founded with former Secret Service agent Arnette Heintze also provided pivotal security advice when Chicago played host to the 2012 NATO Summit.

Rosenzweig resigned last spring after her husband accepted a new job in Singapore.

In 2007, Daley severed the agency then known as the Office of Professional Standards from the Police Department and made it a separate city department with its own subpoena power.

He also imported attorney Rosenzweig from Los Angeles to restore public confidence in investigations of police wrongdoing that had hit rock-bottom.

Then-Police Supt. Phil Cline had resigned in the wake of the controversy surrounding police handling of two barroom brawls involving off-duty officers.

A videotape of off-duty officer Anthony Abbate brutally beating a diminutive female bartender had been played around the world. The other barroom incident involved six off-duty officers accused of beating four businessmen at the Jefferson Tap and Grille. They remained on the job for three months while the case languished at OPS.

Rosenzweig got a rude awakening at her City Council confirmation hearing.

“Welcome to hell…Chicago is at the boiling point that California was when Rodney King got beat up,” former gang enforcer Wallace “Gator” Bradley told Rosenzweig on that day.

The Rev. Paul Jakes, a former mayoral challenger, argued that there were “too many trigger-happy cops out there” who “think black life is cheap.”

Police Committee members advised Rosenzweig to change the tarnished name of OPS.

It’s a suggestion that Rosenzweig promptly took to change the image of an under-staffed agency perceived as too cozy with the Police Department and too protective of rogue officers.

During her six-year tenure, Rosenzweig hired more investigators and started making audio recordings of police officer interviews.

But she also took her share of political fire because of investigations that dragged on for years.

Police union leaders accused her of violating the police contract. Civil rights attorneys complained that the percentage of sustained complaints against officers declined on her watch.

Pang and Pfleger could not be reached for comment.

In a news release, the vacationing Emanuel was quoted as saying, “IPRA plays a very important role in building and maintaining a strong relationship between the Police Department and the communities it serves. The committee will recommend a person of both integrity and professionalism to lead this agency.”

(Source: Sun-Times Media Wire © Chicago Sun-Times 2013. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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