It was an unceremonious end for police superintendent David Brown.
WGN Investigates has learned Chicago’s top cop checked-out earlier than his announced exit, originally scheduled for Thursday. Sources say Brown cleaned-out his corner office and is leaving town without the usual pomp and circumstance usually afforded a police leader. He declined all interview requests.
The early departure comes after Brown also missed the final police graduation and promotion ceremony of his tenure on March 7.
Mayor Lori Lightfoot brought Brown to Chicago in 2020 from Dallas where he had previously served as police chief. He began in the early weeks of the pandemic which proved to be a defining fixture of his time here.
“When I’m talking to you in a couple of years for your exit interview, what does success look like?” WGN Investigates’ Ben Bradley asked Brown in May of 2020. “Historical lows in violent crime and trust in the community not seen in Chicago,” Brown answered.
Neither goal was fulfilled. A few months later protests, violence and looting would erupt in Chicago and other big cities following the death of George Floyd at the hands of a Minneapolis police officer. “This was not an organized protest… this was an incident of pure criminality” Brown said after he and his officers lost control of the city center and other neighborhoods in the summer of 2020.
Murders rose 22% and shooting incidents climbed 32% on Brown’s watch although both categories have begun to decline in recent months. There were 695 murders in Chicago last year; an embarrassing contrast to the goal of just 300 murders a year Brown stated soon after his hiring.
Chicago also endured an exodus of officers. The department is down 1,408 officers from its staffing level of 13,119 just three years ago
Brown announced his intention to leave Chicago on the day after Mayor Lori Lightfoot lost her bid for re-election.
“It has been an honor and a privilege to work alongside the brave men and women of the Chicago Police Department,” Brown wrote in a message to CPD employees. “I will continue to pray that all officers return home to their families safe at the end of their shift. May the Good Lord bless the city of Chicago and the men and women who serve and protect this great city.”
Brown said he accepted the job of chief operating officer at Loncar Lyon Jenkins, a personal injury law firm with seven offices in Texas.