CHICAGO — The Chicago Police Department Counterterrorism Chief Larry Snelling heard from the public for the first time Thursday night since Mayor Brandon Johnson selected him to become the next police superintendent.
The first of five meetings was held on Thursday in Pilsen, a required step before the city council can vote on his confirmation.
Snelling is the first superintendent pick nominated by the independent Community Commission for Public Safety and Accountability. The commission’s president said he believes the department, with Snelling at the helm, can get clearance rates up and homicide rates down.
Snelling, who’s served on the force for three decades, says his childhood in Englewood informs his understanding of poverty and opportunity.
“They have to know that the world is bigger than the street corner they’re standing on,” Snelling said.
The chief took questions on police strategy, mental health, immigration, and he preached empathy in leadership.
“Just like I would like to see someone other than the police handle mental health calls, I would like someone else to step in and help the children who are sleeping on the floor of the district,” Snelling said. “We can’t do this unless we do it together. I can’t help you if I don’t listen to you.”
The Committee on Fire and Police was supposed to vote on Friday to confirm Snelling as superintendent, but that meeting has been delayed.
Committee Chair Chris Talliaferro told WGN-TV he wanted to give this commission more time with public engagement process. He said the committee vote will happen this month, it would then move to a full city council vote.