CHICAGO (CBS) — Five months after he was passed over for the top job at the Chicago Police Department, First Deputy Supt. John Escalante is leaving to take the job as police chief at Northeastern Illinois University.
Escalante, who took over as interim superintendent for four months after Garry McCarthy was fired over the Laquan McDonald police shooting scandal, was later moved back to his job the department’s second-in-command when Mayor Rahm Emanuel selected then-chief of patrol Eddie Johnson for the full-time job as Chicago’s top cop.READ MORE: 1 Dead, 2 Injured In I-57 Expressway Shooting Near 119th Street
On Monday, Police Department spokesman Anthony Guglielmi confirmed Escalatnte would be leaving the department to be police chief at NEIU.
In a written statement, Johnson praised Escalante’s 30 years on with the force:
“As Police Superintendent and a resident of Chicago, I have bittersweet emotions on John’s decision to accept this incredible opportunity as our Police Department will lose a very dedicated and intelligent crime fighter who cares deeply about the people and safety of our city. However, as a friend and father of college-aged children, I would be grateful knowing that John Escalante is the man safeguarding their college experience and future. The students and faculty of Northeastern Illinois University couldn’t have chosen a better candidate for the position of Chief of Police and on behalf of the entire Chicago Police Department, I wish him the very best and thank him for his invaluable contributions to the City.”
Guglielmi said Escalante’s last tour will be Labor Day weekend, and he will start at NEIU on Sept. 7.
“John Escalante has a national reputation in the field of law enforcement for his experience, integrity and leadership,” Northeastern Illinois University President Sharon Hahs said. “We welcome him to the Northeastern Illinois University community as we work together to ensure a safe and healthy environment for our students, faculty and staff.”
While Escalante was still serving as interim superintendent, a group of Latino aldermen demanded Emanuel throw out the original list of three finalists for superintendent and either appoint Escalante to the job permanently, or at least consider him as a finalist for the job.
While Emanuel later did bypass the list of finalists provided by the Chicago Police Board, he instead tapped Johnson, who had not even applied for the job, and who was outranked by Escalante.READ MORE: 101st Airborne 'Screaming Eagles' Soldiers To Help Staff United Center Mass Vaccination Site
Escalante’s departure comes as Chicago Inspector General Joseph Ferguson has completed a report on the department’s handling of the McDonald investigation. Sources said Ferguson is recommending at least five patrol officers, three detectives, and a sergeant be suspended or lose their badges for their role in allegedly trying to cover up the circumstances of the shooting in October 2014.
Officer Jason Van Dyke, who shot McDonald 16 times, is not among the officers Ferguson has recommended be fired or disciplined, but he already has been charged with first-degree murder.
Deputy Chief David McNaughton, who signed off on police reports that determined the shooting complied with Chicago Police Department policies, retired Monday, after Ferguson’s report had been sent to Johnson.
A Police Department spokesman has confirmed Johnson is reviewing the report.