CHICAGO — Chicago Police Supt. Eddie Johnson may retire by the end of the week, and Mayor Lori Lightfoot is responding to the speculation.
Lightfoot attended the ground breaking ceremony Wednesday for a Blue Cross Blue Shield of Illinois, 130,000-square foot facility at 119th Street and Marshfield Avenue in Morgan Park.
During the ceremony, Lightfoot was questioned about the possibility of Supt. Johnson announcing his retirement soon.
"We only have one superintendent and he’s still here," she said. "The superintendent and I talk on an regular basis and we’ve obviously already started to talk about the things we need to put in place for next year. When the time comes that he is gone, then it’s appropriate for me to have that conversation. But we’re not there yet."
Sources tell WGN, Johnson is expected to leave by the end of the year, maybe sooner. But, there are also published reports he will announce his departure this week.
On Monday, Johnson told reporters he was thinking about retiring, though he insisted it had nothing to do with an inspector general investigation into him being found slumped over in his car on a night when he’d been drinking.
One name that has surfaced as a possible replacement is former LAPD Chief Charlie Beck, who will reportedly meet with Lightfoot on Friday. The mayor said she didn’t know anything about that.
"I don’t know what you’re talking about about a meeting with Charlie Beck. I mean I’ve seen a lot of speculation about different names some of which are wildly off base. But as I’ve said we have a superintendent who is in place and when the time comes to make an announcement, we’ll make an announcement," she said.
Johnson’s spokesman would neither confirm or deny reports that he’s leaving.
On Monday, Johnson reveled he was thinking about retiring though he stressed it had nothing to do with an inspector general investigation of him being found slumped over in his car on a night when he’d been drinking.
Former Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy has been watching the Johnson developments.
"You have a driver for a reason and if you’re taking medication or drinking alcohol in those situation you obviously have to think better," he said.
McCarthy was fired by Mayor Rahm Emanuel back in 2015 following the release of the Laquan McDonald shooting video.
The following year, homicides in Chicago spiked. McCarthy said he likes Johnson, who’s reduced crime, but the numbers are still not good enough.
"He’s done a great job as far a community and building trust, right? Which we always talk about. But you can’t be satisfied with the crime rate, though. You know, they haven’t reached the numbers that we had in ‘15 when I left," he said. "Carjackings, robberies, they’re happening everywhere, and that’s scary. I don’t believe the city is safe.
WGN asked McCarthy about two possible internal candidates to replace Johnson: Melissa Staples and Anthony Riccio. McCarthy said it depends on how much they’ve grown since he was at CPD. Also, he said there’s no wayBeck will take the job.