Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson announces retirement

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Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson

By Craig Wall, Sarah Schulte and Chuck Goudie, ABC7 News

Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson officially announced his retirement Thursday.

Superintendent Johnson made the announcement at CPD headquarters flanked by his family members and Mayor Lori Lightfoot.

“It is time for someone else to pin these four stars to their shoulders,” Johnson said. “These stars can sometimes feel like carrying the weight of the world and I’m confident I leave CPD in a better place than when I became superintendent.”

Superintendent Johnson thanked his fellow officers, Mayor Lori Lightfoot, Rahm Emanuel and the city of Chicago.

Mayor Lightfoot said Johnson will serve as superintendent through the end of the year. Lightfoot said her, her team and the department will work to outline their plan for a transition.

Johnson said he began thinking about retiring after speaking with the widows of fallen Chicago police officers at a memorial. He also said a trip to London to see the Chicago Bears play also led to his decision.

“Since I’ve been superintendent, we hadn’t had a chance to spend that kind of time together and it made me feel normal and I saw them, how they missed me in that kind of setting and that’s pretty much what did it,” Johnson said.

Johnson hinted about retirement earlier this week at the CPD 2020 budget hearing.
Johnson said he was considering retirement after 31 years with CPD and nearly four years as superintendent. He said it is a decision he will have to discuss with his family.

Mayor Lightfoot said she supports Johnson and he ends his career with integrity.

“I want to reiterate to the superintendent and the city that he continues to have my unwavering confidence and support,” Lightfoot said.

Sources tell the ABC7 I-Team that Johnson’s interim replacement will be Charlie Beck, recently retired as chief of the Los Angeles Police Department.

Johnson has been under scrutiny since being found slumped over the wheel of his car late at night last month. He first blamed the incident on a change in blood pressure medication, then later admitting he had a few drinks with dinner.

The incident triggered an internal affairs investigation.

“The reality is, the investigation is going to take the normal course,” Lightfoot said. “The investigation, I’m sure because it’s the inspector general, will be very thorough, but it’s inappropriate for us to talk about anything related to the investigation because he’s going to become a witness, I’m going to become a witness…I just think we have to let the investigation run its course.”

The Inspector General’s Office said if they wrap up the investigation and there is no finding with a recommendation of any disciplinary action to be taken against the superintendent, the case would be closed and the details of the investigation would not be released.

The retirement announcement did not come as a surprise to aldermen. Many admit they are sorry to see Johnson go and aldermen were complimentary of the job Johnson has done.

“I was responsible for putting him in,” said 30th Ward Alderman Ariel Reboyras. “I think he has done a fantastic job.”

“He has done good work. He inherited the department at a time that there was huge issues and I think he has worked as hard as he can to deal with these issues as best he could,” said 28th Ward Alderman Jason Ervin. “I think everybody has a few bumps in the road.

Many aldermen said they hold Lightfoot hires someone from within the ranks. The new superintendent must be confirmed by City Council.

This article originally appeared on ABC7 News.

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