CHICAGO — Interim Chicago Police Superintendent Charles Beck met with faith leaders in Chicago to discuss diversity on the police force, among other issues important to Chicagoans.
Beck met Tuesday with Chicago clergy leaders concerned about his agenda. Specifically, they are worried about Beck’s order that does away with the police department’s merit promotion policy which was credited with opening a door of opportunity to talented minority officers looking to move up in rank.
Beck’s surprise decision prompted by complaints and dissatisfaction with the merit promotions process which critics said lacked transparency and has lead to widespread cronyism.
However, community leaders are now concerned that the Chicag Police Department will take a step back when it comes to a diverse police force.
Religious leaders told Beck they’re worried that replacing the system with test-based promotions might may lead to less diversity in the upper ranks of the police department.
“His answer was that, ‘It’s just not working,’ and my answer is, ‘That’s the best we have, with the conditions in which we’ve been working under for the last 60 plus years,'” Jacques Conway, United Methodist Church, said. “And so the fact that he’s only here is an interim and used this occasion to say that the merit system does not work, is not good enough for us.”
However, at the same time, community leaders that attended the meeting Tuesday said the interim superintendent made it clear that he is committed to diversity. Beck said that he favors a promotion process where there is testing that takes place twice a year.