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Rahm Honors Retired Cop Williams Despite Ongoing Test Probe

By Ted Cox | May 26, 2016 3:44pm | Updated on May 27, 2016 10:34am
 Retired Chief Eugene Williams accepts the William Powers Leadership Award from Mayor Rahm Emanuel Thursday.
Retired Chief Eugene Williams accepts the William Powers Leadership Award from Mayor Rahm Emanuel Thursday.
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DNAinfo/Ted Cox

NEW EASTSIDE — Mayor Rahm Emanuel gave a top police honor Thursday to a retired deputy superintendent still under investigation for alleged cheating on a lieutenants exam.

Emanuel presented the William Powers Leadership Award to Eugene Williams, who reached the mandatory retirement age of 63 this month after most recently serving as chief of the Department's Bureau of Support Services.

Williams was one of three finalists selected by the Police Board to replace fired Supt. Garry McCarthy earlier this year, before Emanuel sidestepped the process to appoint Supt. Eddie Johnson.

Williams also remains under investigation by the inspector general for allegations he helped create the latest lieutenants exam and ran a study group that gave an unfair advantage to sergeants taking it, including Johnson's fiancee.

Williams would not respond to questions after accepting the honor, and Emanuel's Press Office referred inquiries to the Police Department.

Department spokesman Anthony Guglielmi emphasized that "upon his retirement, Chief Williams left the agency in good standing." He said the award was voted on by Williams' colleagues and "the Department stands behind the nomination process."

The William Powers Leadership Award goes to an officer who "exemplifies his or her dedication to service, visionary approach to operational excellence and dynamic leadership in law enforcement." Powers, who died 10 years ago, was credited as an innovator in police psychology.

In the Department's annual recognition ceremony, the Powers Award is considered the second-highest honor behind the Richard J. Daley Police Medal of Honor, which went this year to former Supt. Phil Cline.

Emanuel also made a curious comment in his opening remarks praising police at Thursday's Police Recognition Ceremony held over lunch at the Hyatt Regency Chicago. He referred to "the code and the sense of culture that lives" in the Police Department.

A federal judge recently threatened to force Emanuel to testify on the Police Department's "code of silence" in an ongoing suit filed by two whistleblower cops against the city. Emanuel admitted to a "code of silence" in the department in his December speech to the City Council accepting blame and demanding reforms in the wake of the Laquan McDonald case.

The Mayor's Press Office did not respond to requests for comment on what "code" Emanuel was referring to Thursday.

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