(CBS) – Now that the Chicago Police Board has recommended three finalists for police superintendent, the political maneuvering is underway.
Black elected officials from the West Side on Monday endorsed the only Chicago Police Department veteran on the list, Deputy Chief Eugene Williams.
CBS 2’s Derrick Blakley reports.
Outside the 15th Police District station Williams once commanded, black elected officials voiced their support.
“With the problems we have experienced, he doesn’t have to come learning about Chicago because he knows about Chicago,” U.S. Rep. Danny Davis said.
Williams is the longest-serving member of CPD’s command staff. He’s spent 15 years in the top ranks, 35 years on the force.
“Over the last nine years, we’ve had outside superintendents, outside leadership, that didn’t necessarily know what Chicago police officers have been through,” Ward 29 Ald. Chris Taliaferro Said.
But after a spate of questionable police-involved shootings, including the killing of Laquan McDonald, the question is whether Williams’ biggest strength is also his biggest weakness. Can an insider produce desperately needed change?
Those who’ve worked with him, say yes.
“Eugene Williams always stood up and spoke out for what was right. He wasn’t afraid to say what was right and what was wrong, no matter how it looked or how it felt to the people over him — because he knew it was right,” Ward 27 Ald. Walter Burnett said.
In his application for the top job, Williams criticized the code of silence, saying, “The way it is done on the streets is to protect and cover for your partner at all cost.”
The other finalists are both outsiders, Anne Kirkpatrick, former police chief in Spokane, Wash., and Cedric Alexander, head of public safety in Dekalb, Ga.
“He will make the difference that the city deserves and the city needs,” Taliaferro says of Williams.