CHICAGO (CBS) — When Chicago police officers joined forces with state and federal agents to round-up dangerous criminals, John Escalante was front and center.

He was also at the forefront of the investigation into the dismemberment of a child found in a city lagoon

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Escalante, who earns $185,364 annually, was elevated by Rahm Emanuel to temporarily take over for ousted Police Supt. Garry McCarthy. (McCarthy was the highest-paid city worker, earning $260,004 a year.)

He is 51 and a 29-year veteran of the force. He was promoted to Deputy Superintendent in October, and previously served as Deputy Chief of Patrol and Commander of the Bomb and Arson Unit.

Escalante reportedly spent much of Tuesday meeting with command citywide.

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His focus is making sure police officers remain focused on crime fighting.

Lori Lightfoot, president of the Chicago Police Board, is spearheading the effort replace McCarthy.

In the nationwide search, the board may also recruit applicants.

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By law, it must nominate three candidates for Mayor Emanuel to consider with the consent of the City Council, but he may also reject their selections