City Police Officer Running for Mayor Says He'd Fire McCarthy, Byrd-Bennett
GARFIELD PARK — If mayoral candidate Frederick Collins has his way, Police Supt. Garry McCarthy's days are numbered in Chicago.
Collins, a 21-year Chicago Police Department veteran, said he would officially announce his mayoral candidacy Sunday morning at Mckenzie Mission Church, 2415 E. 75th St. With Collins' announcement, Mayor Rahm Emanuel's 2015 challengers now stand at three.
Community organizer and entrepreneur Amara Enyia announced her candidacy in February, and in March, former 9th Ward Ald. Robert Shaw said he would run. Both candidates said they were unsure if they would retain McCarthy as the city's police superintendent if elected next year.
But Collins said he would not retain McCarthy and said public safety would be a top priority for him as mayor. The Garfield Park resident suggested that McCarthy has misled the public about crime and that the problem is worse than what it appears.
"When you are trying to persuade people that crime is down, when all you are doing is changing the way it is reported, that is not transparent," said Collins, 45. "You cannot just lock away crime. That's why I would not retain him when I am elected mayor."
Collins said there's a lack of trust between residents and police that needs to be resolved.
One way to address the issue is to have "sensitivity training [for officers] that deals with diversity within the Police Department," said Collins, a Crane High School alumnus.
Adam Collins, a spokesman for McCarthy, did not respond to a request for comment.
For his part, the mayor said he welcomes everyone into the race.
“I believe in bringing a level of reform and change every day to deliver better services to the people of Chicago so they can live in a world-class city,” Emanuel said in a statement. “Other people may be able to provide their own ideas, but one thing I will guarantee you is that we’re not going back. We’re going to go forward, with an agenda of reform and change.”
Championing the changes he would make as mayor, Frederick Collins said McCarthy would not be the only person he would fire. He "absolutely would not" retain Barbara Byrd-Bennett as CEO of Chicago Public Schools, Collins said.
"She has been ineffective," said Collins, a single father who has two adult daughters, a seventh-grade son and a 3-year-old granddaughter.
To improve public education, another top priority of Collins, he said he would seek federal funding that would allow "every CPS graduate to attend City Colleges for free."
Establishing an elected school board would also be a priority for Collins, he said.
He did not have an estimate of how much money is needed to provide students free attendance at one of the city's seven community colleges, but said he would start by seeking community block grants from the government.
"In the city of Chicago we don't have a money problem, but a political problem," Collins said, referring to Emanuel's decision to help fund a sports stadium for DePaul University when CPS says it is facing a $1 billion deficit. "It makes no sense to build a sports arena when the schools need money."
Improving safety and public education would help retain residents while also encouraging more families to relocate to the city, he said.
Collins said he would try to bring two casinos to the South Side to generate more city revenue.
And even though the Near West District patrol officer unsuccessfully ran in 2010 for Cook County Sheriff and in 2012 for Congress in the 1st District, he said this time around he expects to win.
"I love the city of Chicago, and I love my people. I want to be an advocate for those who cannot speak for themselves," said Collins.