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Rahm Won't Rush Top Cop Pick, But Will He Bypass Finalists?

By Mark Konkol | March 23, 2016 5:36pm
 Mayor Rahm Emanuel said his priority isn't making a top cop pick quickly; it's making the right pick.
Mayor Rahm Emanuel said his priority isn't making a top cop pick quickly; it's making the right pick.
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DNAinfo/Mina Bloom

CHICAGO — Mayor Rahm Emanuel is getting a lot of pressure about who he will pick as Chicago's next police superintendent.

Latino aldermen want the mayor to make interim Supt. John Escalante's tenure permanent. Ald. Carrie Austin has lobbied hard for Deputy Supt. Eugene Williams, who made the Chicago Police Board's short list.

And sources say Police Board President Lori Lightfoot believes DeKalb County, Georgia, Public Safety Director Cedric Alexander was the most impressive of the finalists emerging from her board's selection process, which included retired Spokane, Wash., police chief Anne Kirkpatrick.

Emanuel, who initially said he would move quickly to make his top cop pick, has decided to give himself some extra time to decide on who might make the best leader for a police department the public doesn't trust and that is currently being investigated by the U.S. Justice Department.

"Even though [some] may want to rush me, I'm not going to do it that way," Emanuel told the Tribune. "My policy: I'm not going to make a quick decision. I'm going to try to make the right decision."

On Wednesday, the mayor danced around questions about what was holding up his decision.

"Quick is not the value I'm looking for. Right is the value I'm looking for. My priority is to find a superintendent that will help us boost the morale in the Police Department, to strengthen the cooperation between the community and the Police Department so we can reduce gun violence in the city," the mayor said. "My priority is to find a superintendent who builds on the principles of community policing."

What Emanuel didn't say is if after interviewing the three finalists he's considering picking someone who isn't on the list.

An Emanuel spokesman didn't immediately get back to me on that point.

As soon as he does, I'll let you know.

Until then, give a listen to another My Chicago Chat with DNAinfo Radio's Matt Bubala.

We're just two guys talking about Rahm.

Contributing: Mina Bloom