Chicago Mayor Lightfoot announced Friday that she is appointing Charlie Beck, the former Los Angeles police chief, to serve as Interim Superintendent of the Chicago Police Department, praising him as a reformer.
The 66-year-old Long Beach-born Beck will serve as Interim Superintendent following Eddie Johnson’s retirement and through the Police Board’s nationwide search process for the Superintendent position, which officially began Friday.
“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,” said Lightfoot. “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.”
Beck joined the Los Angeles Police Department in 1977 and rose through the ranks of police officer, sergeant, lieutenant and commander over 41 years, including becoming Chief of Detectives. As police chief from 2009 to 2018, Beck oversaw the implementation of nationally recognized reforms and community policing initiatives that not only brought the LAPD into compliance with a federal Consent Decree after 12 years, but also resulted in historically low crime rates across Los Angeles, according to a statement from Lightfoot’s office.
“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. Over that time, I got to know Superintendent Johnson and we’ve become very good friends and colleagues,” Beck said. “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.”
As L.A. police chief, Beck barred officers from making arrests based solely on immigration status and ensured the department did not cooperate with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) on any immigration enforcement activities.
“While the patch on his sleeve may have differed from ours, Chief Beck brings more than 40 years of major city policing leadership to Chicago, and through his leadership and steady hands, he’ll maintain the momentum and lay the foundation for the next Superintendent of Chicago’s finest,” said Johnson. “Chief Beck is not only a good friend of mine but he’s also been a mentor for me during the department’s most tumultuous times, and I have full confidence he will build on the reforms underway today to create a better police department for tomorrow.”
As part of the leadership transition process over the coming weeks, Beck and Johnson will meet with Chicago’s police officers, community leaders, clergy, aldermen and advocates to hear the concerns and priorities of Chicago’s residents. Additionally, the Police Board will conduct its national search for candidates for the position of Superintendent of the Chicago Police Department. Upon completion of the process, the Police Board will submit three nominees to the Mayor, who will then appoint the Superintendent from the Board’s list with the advice and consent of the City Council.