Crusader Staff Report
Mayor Rahm Emanuel on May 8 appointed Ghian Foreman to serve as President of the Chicago Police Board, ushering in a new era of leadership as the city’s civilian oversight agency for police accountability. The appointment comes as the police board arrives at a critical crossroads with calls for reforms still rocking City Hall and local law enforcement.
“The Chicago Police Department has been making steady progress towards strengthening both transparency and accountability, and the Chicago Police Board plays an important role in helping accelerate that progress,” said Emanuel in a statement. “Ghian Foreman has deep roots in Chicago and has served the Chicago Police Board with distinction and dedication. I am confident he will lead the Board forward responsibly and in the best interest of all Chicagoans, and I thank him for his service to our great city.”
Foreman replaces Lori Lightfoot, who seeks to unseat Emanuel in next year’s mayoral election after years of openly criticizing the Emanuel administration and a police department that has been slow to change its culture, despite a scathing federal report that CPD failed to hold officers accountable when they use force contrary to CPD policy or otherwise commit misconduct against minorities, particularly Blacks.
Foreman has experience on the board, but questions remain whether he will be as publicly vocal as Lightfoot in pushing for reforms in the Chicago Police Department, or strong enough to remain as politically independent as his predecessor. As the Fraternal Order of Police and activists step up their demands at City Hall, Foreman is settling into a role that may force him to clash with the man who has appointed him the top job.
The Police Board, which is comprised of nine members, is part of the City’s multi-tiered police civilian oversight and accountability system.
The Police Board, COPA, the Deputy Inspector General for Public Safety and the Chicago Police Department (CPD) each have responsibilities in providing timely, transparent and quality investigations into complaints of alleged police misconduct, and recommending discipline when appropriate.
The Police Board has the responsibility for making determinations in the disciplinary process for police officers, when the Superintendent of Police files charges to terminate an officer or suspend an officer for more than 30 days, and for deciding matters in which COPA and CPD do not agree on the level of discipline for a police officer. The Police Board may also provide policy recommendations based on issues and patterns observed in cases.
Foreman joined the Police Board on June 30, 2010, and served as Vice President before being appointed as President today.
He is the Executive Director of Greater Southwest Development Corporation (GSDC), a CDC focused on the improvement of the Southwest Side of Chicago. Prior to joining GSDC, Foreman was the Managing Partner of Maktub Development, a real estate development firm focused on inner city development. In this capacity, Ghian was responsible for $30 million in investments and development in traditionally underserved urban markets throughout the United States.
Ghian also previously served as VP of Strategic Acquisitions at HSBC where he oversaw over $3 billion in acquisitions. Ghian is currently also board member of the Rehab Network and the Southwest Organizing Project. He earned his BS from Florida A&M University, and an MBA from University of Chicago Booth School of Business.
“The Chicago Police Department is in the midst of historic reforms, and I appreciate Mayor Emanuel’s confidence in my ability to serve as Police Board President during this important time,” said Foreman in a statement. “As the Department continues down the road of reform, I am proud to serve our great city by leading the Chicago Police Board forward and helping to strengthen accountability and build bonds of trust between officers and residents in every community.”
Emanuel also nominated Paula Wolff to fill Foreman’s newly vacated seat on the Police Board. Wolff is Director of the Illinois Justice, a civic organization developing and implementing policy initiatives and programs to improve the criminal justice system, by addressing youth trauma and by reducing youth and adult violence, crime and incarceration.