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Aldermen Approve Johnson As New Police Superintendent

CHICAGO (CBS) -- Chicago aldermen on Wednesday unanimously confirmed the obviously popular Eddie Johnson as the city's new police superintendent, allowing Mayor Rahm Emanuel to bypass the normal process for selecting the city's top cop.

All 50 aldermen, including newly sworn-in Ald. Sophia King (4th), voted to approve Johnson's appointment.

Ald. Howard Brookins (21st) acknowledged the big job Johnson has ahead of him, with skyrocketing numbers of shootings and homicides, and a Police Department facing the difficult task of rebuilding public trust in the wake of the Laquan McDonald police shooting and other recent scandals.

"We're all pulling for you. We're all relying on you to make this city safer, and also to bring back the trust and respect that that office deserves," he said.

Ald. Leslie Hairston (5th), who has known Johnson for a while, said he's up to the task.

"You have always been a dedicated hard worker. You work all times of day or night. I admire your ethics," she said.


The mayor, who was congratulated for appointing Johnson, reassured the new superintendent that elected officials have his back.

"Know that you're not in this alone. We're in it with you. We all have a role to play; every one of us," Emanuel said.

In order to confirm Johnson right away, aldermen also approved a one-time amendment to the rules for how the city's police superintendent is chosen, allowing the mayor to directly appoint someone to the post.

Normally, the mayor must choose from among finalists chosen by the Chicago Police Board, or ask them to conduct a new search. Rather than force the Police Board to conduct another expensive search, with the only real purpose being to include Johnson as a finalist, aldermen cleared the way for Emanuel to circumvent the Police Board to appoint Johnson this time around, but left the longstanding selection process in place going forward.

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