Chicago police chief walks on last day of contract

AP News
Posted: Mar 01, 2011 5:45 PM
Chicago police chief walks on last day of contract

Chicago Police Superintendent Jody Weis is leaving his job immediately and won't stay on for two more months as Mayor Richard Daley had wanted him to, officials said Tuesday.

Chicago Alderman Anthony Beale confirmed that Tuesday was Weis' last day as the head of Chicago's police department and said former Superintendent Terry Hillard will take over in the interim.

The embattled Weis, a former FBI agent who was hired by Daley three years ago, has known for months that none of the major mayoral candidates, including Mayor-elect Rahm Emanuel, planned to extend his 3-year contract, which was to end at midnight Tuesday.

Daley on Monday told reporters he hoped Weis would stay until Daley's term ends in May. But Weis decided to leave immediately. Messages left Tuesday for Weis and police spokesmen were not immediately returned.

Weis, the first outsider to run the department in more than 40 years when he was hired by Daley, has been unpopular with many rank-and-file officers and their union. They have blamed him for what they say has been plummeting morale within the department, saying he has not supported them as previous superintendents have.

But Weis, who was hired with a mandate to clean up the reputation of a department plagued by instances of police brutality and misconduct, has been the chief during a time when violent crime has fallen dramatically _ including a murder rate that dropped last year to a total not seen since the mid-1960s.

"It's a sad for the city of Chicago," said Beale.

In recent interviews, Weis pointed out that since he took over, there haven't been any major scandals involving his officers.

Weis also said that the number of lawsuits filed against the department during his tenure has dropped, saying that in any other city all those factors would be a good measure of a superintendent's effectiveness.