Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot announced Friday that Charlie Beck, the former chief of the Los Angeles Police Department, will serve as interim superintendent of the Chicago Police Department after Superintendent Eddie Johnson announced his retirement.
“Chief Beck has a well-deserved national reputation for leading the reform era of the Los Angeles Police Department that was rooted in the principles of transparency, accountability, and community partnership. That strategy led to historic results in crime reduction citywide,” Lightfoot said in a statement.
“Through his renowned transformational community policing, Chief Beck has proven to be a singular leader with the strength and vision to help lay the foundation for the changes our city needs as we move forward into the next era of the Chicago Police Department,” she continued.
Beck joined the LAPD in 1977 and ultimately served as its chief from 2012-2018. He oversaw the implementation of several reforms, including body camera and de-escalation policies and community policing initiatives that brought the LAPD into compliance with its Consent Decree and helped reduce crime rates across the city.
“For the last several years, Chicago and Los Angeles have been partner cities in developing and implementing proven strategies to safeguard our communities and build community trust,” Beck said. “Over that time, I got to know Superintendent Johnson and we’ve become very good friends and colleagues.
“I am truly privileged for the opportunity to now serve as Interim Superintendent of the Chicago Police Department and build upon the incredible work done by Superintendent Johnson and the dedicated police officers in Chicago,” he continued.
Johnson praised Lightfoot’s pick, saying Beck is a “good friend” and “mentor.”
“I have full confidence he will build on the reforms underway today to create a better police department for tomorrow,” he added.
Johnson announced his retirement this week as city Inspector General Joseph Ferguson investigates an incident from last month in which police officers found Johnson sleeping in his car. Johnson later said he had been drinking that evening, but clarified earlier this week that his consideration to retire was unrelated to the probe.
Johnson was first hired in spring of 2016 by then-Mayor Rahm Emanuel as the city’s police department faced widespread criticism amid the release of video footage showing a white Chicago police officer shooting black teen Laquan McDonald 16 times.