CHICAGO — Fred Waller has served on the Chicago Police Department for more than 30 years, and as he looks ahead to retiring on August 15 he’s also looking back at decades of policing in Chicago.
Going through some old photos at police headquarters Thursday, Waller reflected on his career just nine days before he’s set to retire after rising from beat cop to near the top over 34 years.
Waller holds one of the department’s most demanding positions, Chief of Patrol, which morphed into Chief of Operations in charge of 7,000 officers, the largest amount of patrol operations.
The retiring chief was a visible and vocal presence during high-profile crimes and day-to-day police work, speaking with the voice of a true Chicagoan. Waller was raised in Inglewood and Pullman, and is a graduate of Luther South High School.
After attending Chicago State University, he decided to serve his city. His wife is also on the force, as is one of his four children.
There was some disappointment from stepping away from policing at a time when cops are under fire, but he says there’s a rule to follow that can keep everyone safe: comply when ordered to.
WGN’s Mike Lowe sat down with Waller for a one-on-one interview about where he’s been, and where he thinks policing needs to go in Chicago.