Jul 14, 2023 - News

Commission names three finalists for Chicago's top cop

Illustration of a star-shaped spotlight on a police hat.

Illustration: Lindsey Bailey/Axios

Members of the Community Commission for Public Safety and Accountability (CCPSA) on Thursday submitted their top three candidates for the new Chicago Police Department superintendent to Mayor Brandon Johnson.

Why it matters: Chicago's next top cop will face one of the toughest jobs in the nation, battling persistent crime while addressing union disputes, police reform and consent decree deadlines.

  • And that's all while serving a mayor who didn't receive the police union's backing during his campaign.

Backstory: The three finalists were selected by the seven-person CCPSA, which is currently made up of an interim group of community members nominated by City Council and selected by former Mayor Lori Lightfoot.

  • CCPSA members will eventually be nominated by the new elected Police District Councils. They will be appointed by Mayor Brandon Johnson.

Details: The candidates include CPD veterans and one outsider.

Larry Snelling has been part of the CPD for over 30 years and is currently the chief of the department's bureau of counterterrorism. Before that, he was deputy chief of Area 2, which covers most of the Far South Side. He also used to be a commander in the Englewood District, where he grew up.

  • Not only does Snelling teach recruits about the department's use of force policy, he's credited with designing the new policy in accordance with the consent decree.

Angel Novalez is the chief for the department's office of constitutional policing and reform. He took over this post during the 2020 unrest after the police killing of George Floyd. Before that, Novalez was involved in improving community policing.

  • Novalez grew up on the Near West Side and was shot in the line of duty earlier in his career.

Shon Barnes is technically the outsider as he currently runs the Madison, Wisconsin police department and held similar jobs in North Carolina.

  • Yes, but: He worked in Chicago for the Civilian Office of Police Accountability (COPA), investigating police misconduct.

What's next: Johnson has 30 days to choose from among the candidates or reject them all and ask the CCPSA to start again.

Editor's note: This story has been corrected to reflect that the CCPSA, which is not an elected body, is currently made up of an interim group chosen by former Mayor Lori Lightfoot and the City Council (not chosen by and from members of the new Police District Councils).


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