CHICAGO (CBS) — Deputy Mayor Susan Lee, Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s top advisor on public safety, is stepping down later this month, after little more than a year on the job.
Word of Lee’s resignation comes just days after she and Lightfoot announced what the mayor’s office dubbed the city’s first-ever comprehensive violence reduction plan, and on the heels of the announcement of the retirement of Chicago Police Deputy Supt. Barbara West, the department’s No. 3 cop and highest-ranking Black woman in CPD history.READ MORE: Chicago Weather: Another Wave Of Downpours Coming Early Friday Morning
“Deputy Mayor Susan Lee has been an invaluable member of my senior leadership team helping lead the City’s public safety and violence reduction efforts over the past year. From ensuring record-high investments in street outreach and victim services to building the Mayor’s Office public safety team from just two employees to now more than 10 staff and launching the City’s first comprehensive violence reduction plan, Deputy Mayor Lee has created the foundation needed to ensure our comprehensive effort to improve safety succeeds,” Lightfoot said in a statement.
Lee was named Lightfoot’s deputy for public safety in June 2019, just weeks after Lightfoot took office. The mayor said Lee will continue to work as a City Hall consultant after leaving her deputy post later this month, focusing on the CPD consent decree, violence reduction efforts, and other public safety issues.
“Susan took on this thankless role not knowing the enormous challenges 2020 would bring and led the City’s public safety departments through an unprecedented pandemic and a summer of social unrest. Her intensive and tireless work on the complex issues of police reform, accountability and building trust in our communities leaves an indelible mark on our path towards a safer and stronger Chicago,” Lightfoot said. “Susan will continue building on our efforts to ensuring Chicago becomes the safest big city in America. The Mayor’s Office will announce Susan’s replacement soon allowing for Susan to assist in the transition of leadership.”READ MORE: Frank Pietrangelo, Hero Of 1991 Stanley Cup Playoffs, Says He Was Among Those Sexually Abused By Hockey Coach Tom 'Chico' Adrahtas
Lee had worked closely with West, who was overseeing the Office of Constitutional Policing and Reform Management, which was tasked with monitoring changes mandated by an ongoing federal consent decree.
The department has been taken to task repeatedly for failing to meet deadlines in fulfilling the consent decree. In the first report to the monitors for the decree in November, the city had missed more than half its deadlines to implement the rules. The same was true seven months later. As of June, there were 35 deadlines met, but also 89 missed deadlines. In all, 71 percent of the deadlines were missed.
In June, West defended the department’s record in fulfilling the decree.
“So you think about how reform takes place, and reform is not going to be done overnight,” West said in June. “With what I’ve seen in terms of the deadlines being missed, you know, we did make some significant accomplishments in things that we’ve put in place CPD. We’ve hired more mental health physicians, we’ve begun to engage the community in our policy development. We’ve revised our use of force policies, which clearly prohibited choke holds, and less deadly force is used. So, we’re not doing a slow roll, but we’re doing a concerted effort working with our monitor, working with the OAG [Office of the Illinois Attorney General] and taking a thoughtful approach to how we redevelop our policies, which is the foundation of our reform efforts.”MORE NEWS: Shane Jason Woods Of Downstate Auburn, Illinois Charged In Jan. 6 Capitol Insurrection
West was also a candidate for interim police superintendent after Lightfoot fired former Supt. Eddie Johnson. The position later went to Charlie Beck, who in turn was replaced on a permanent basis by Supt. David Brown.