CHICAGO (CBS) — Illinois state Rep. LaShawn K. Ford (D-Chicago) issued a call this week to make the position of Chicago Police superintendent an elected office.
The police superintendent is now appointed by the mayor, typically based upon recommendations from the Chicago Police Board.
“Right now, some residents don’t feel that the appointment of the top cop gives them a voice in selecting the best superintendent to head the Chicago Police Department,” Ford said in a news release. “The current structure doesn’t hold the superintendent accountable to the taxpayers. Changing the selection process for the top cop position would give our police leadership and residents the opportunity to develop a platform and strategy that’s approved by taxpayers necessary to tackle crime in our city. By being an elected position, residents would be able to have a choice and more of an influence on the direction of our policing strategy.”
Under Ford’s proposal, the police superintendent would be elected for a four-year term as part of a consolidated election, much the same as how county sheriffs and state’s attorneys in Illinois are elected. A recall provision would also be included to preserve accountability, according to Ford’s office.
Ford was set to discuss the details of his plan Friday morning at his district office at 5051 W. Chicago Ave. in the South Austin neighborhood. He will be joined by community members who are looking to address violence, guns, and the drug market.
“We have to stop the cycle of street justice,” Ford said in the release. “Not only do we have to focus on police work, we also should work to bring trauma assistance and other needed mental health care to neighborhoods impacted by ongoing violence.”