CHICAGO — Chicago Police officers Wednesday elected a new union president who has vowed "to fight for officers" amid a push by city officials to reform the Chicago Police Department.
Kevin Graham won 56 percent of the vote in a runoff against Dean Angelo Sr., who led the Fraternal Order of Police Local 7 for three years during what city officials have called one of the most tumultuous periods in the force's history.
Graham said he looked forward to immediately beginning negotiations for a new police union contract.
Mayor Rahm Emanuel has said any new agreement with the police union must be significantly different than the current agreement as part of his effort to reform the department in the wake of the death of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald who was shot by an officer 16 times.
The 11 members of the City Council's Black Caucus have vowed to vote against any police contract that does not significantly change the way allegations of officer misconduct are investigated.
Graham said he would fight "the anti-police movement in the city" during the contract negotiations.
In addition, Graham said the police union on his watch would not allow criticism of Chicago officers to go unanswered.
“I will … have a full-time media specialist who will get our message out," Graham said on his website, The Blue Voice. "We will no longer be victimized by a biased, anti-Police media. Our Lodge 7 will quickly and articulately respond to media attacks.”
During Graham's tenure, which began Wednesday, the Police Department is set to grow by 970 positions: 516 police officers, 200 detectives, 112 sergeants, 50 lieutenants and 92 field training officers.
During the campaign, Graham criticized Angelo for allowing officers to participate in a U.S. Justice Department investigation that found police routinely violated the civil rights of residents by using excessive force caused by poor training and nonexistent supervision.
Graham also criticized the way Emanuel has pledged to pay for police officers pensions during the campaign.
As it looked like he was headed for defeat, Angelo said he planned to "take a nice long nap."
"I might get out of town. I haven't had a vacation in three years," he told the paper.