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Chicago Mayor Picks Newark Chief As New Top Cop

May 02, 2011  | 

Photo: Flickr (TheeErin).

Chicago's Mayor-elect Rahm Emanuel has picked the Newark (N.J.) Police director as his choice for police superintendent to replace departing Jody Weis, whose FBI background often didn't mesh with patrol officers.

Like Weis, Newark Police Director Garry McCarthy — known best as the former NYPD operations chief who implemented CompStat — is an outsider. However, McCarthy has big-city police experience and a track record of lowering crime statistics on his watch.

"That fact that McCarthy is an 'outsider' is of no significance to me," Chicago Police Lt. John Andrews told POLICE. "He has demonstrated very strong skill sets and competencies as both a police officer and police administrator. He brings a lot to the table during a time when it is most needed."

Emanuel, who made the announcement today, also named Felicia Davis as the deputy chief for public safety. Davis is a 10-year veteran of the Chicago Police Department.

McCarthy inherits an agency that's more than 2,300 officers a day short of its authorized strength, including vacancies, officers on limited duty and medical leave. Emanuel has promised to add 1,000 street officers by altering a sick-leave policy that allows officers to take 365 sick days every two years. He has also vowed to hire an additional 250 officers with funds generated by tax-increment-financing districts.

Perhaps the superintendent's biggest challenge will be raising the department's low morale that has been brought on by ineffective management, said Lt. Andrews, who has publicly blogged about the Chicago PD's difficulties.

"The rank and file has been starving for real leaders to lead them," Lt. Andrews added. "If McCarthy can start off by placing the right people on the right seats on the bus (and kicking some people off the bus), I see great opportunities for improvement in morale and operational efficiency … There are some very competent people in the CPD serving with honor and integrity who are under-utilized or not utilized at all. These ethical servant-leaders must be correctly identified and properly utilized to lead the way in motivating others to achieve personal and organizational greatness."

In Newark, McCarthy was learning to do more with less. A budget crisis there had forced him to lay off 100 officers he had hired in recent years.

Two years after taking over the top cop role in 2006, Newark recorded the nation's highest murder rate. McCarthy is credited with implementing strategies to combat narcotics and gun violence that produced a 12 percent reduction in overall crime, a 40 percent decline in shooting incidents and homicides and a 23 percent cut in civilian complaints against his officers.

The city's murder rate has fallen 32 percent since 2008.

The Newark chief has twice been considered for Chicago police superintendent, in 2003 and 2008. He applied for the position, after high salary demands sidelined Philadelphia Commissioner Charles Ramsay.

More than 40 candidates applied for the post, including White House drug czar Gil Kerlikowske and several inside candidates such as Debra Kirby, a deputy superintendent in the Bureau of Professional Standards and Eugene Williams, a 30-year department veteran who heads the patrol division.

By Paul Clinton

Sources: Chicago Tribune, Chicago Sun-Times

Comments (2)

Displaying 1 - 2 of 2

H. Martin @ 5/2/2011 8:02 PM

So the Chicago Police Officers get another outsider to "lead" them. That's great! Yet, it's hard to believe that a department as large as Chicago does not have quality people within its ranks. However, unlike the person who was selected by Quinn to run the State Police, the guy was a real police officer!

Davesam25G @ 5/2/2011 8:59 PM

You always look for the continuity and relationship with those you lead...bottom to top-top to bottom two way street. You will always have challenges as a leader but what your to or don't do builds the foundation (Trust-character-word) come to mind. The old saying of think outside the box comes to mind here also - You don't have to think outside it, if you don't create it in the first place!

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