CHICAGO – Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot announced today that she is appointing Charlie Beck, former Police Chief of the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD), to serve as Interim Superintendent of the Chicago Police Department. Chief Beck will serve as Interim Superintendent following Johnson’s retirement and through the Police Board’s nationwide search process for the Superintendent position, which officially began today.
“Chief Beck has a well-deserved national reputation for leading the reform era of the Los Angeles Police Department that was rooted in the principles of transparency, accountability, and community partnership. That strategy led to historic results in crime reduction citywide,” said Mayor Lightfoot. “Through his renowned transformational community policing, Chief Beck has proven to be a singular leader with the strength and vision to help lay the foundation for the changes our city needs as we move forward into the next era of the Chicago Police Department."
Beck joined the Los Angeles Police Department in 1977, where he rose through the ranks of police officer, sergeant, lieutenant and commander over 41 years, including becoming Chief of Detectives, where he implemented far-ranging and visionary changes to the Detective Bureau. As Chief of Police of the Department from 2009 to 2018, Beck oversaw the implementation of nationally-recognized reforms and community policing initiatives that not only brought the LAPD into compliance with its Consent Decree after 12 years, but also resulted in historically low crime rates across Los Angeles.
Over the course of his career, Beck has earned a reputation across law enforcement for his ability to forge traditional policing methods with community outreach programs, including the launch of the Community Safety Partnership (CSP), a program designed to foster relationships between police and high-risk residents in Los Angeles' housing communities. In the first three years of CSP’s operation — which has since expanded to include more communities — violent crime declined by more than 50 percent in the impacted communities, and the number of arrests also declined by 50 percent. Additionally, as a result of the relationships formed by officers with the community, the clearance rate for homicides in the housing developments served by the program increased to 81 percent.
"For the last several years, Chicago and Los Angeles have been partner cities in developing and implementing proven strategies to safeguard our communities and build community trust. Over that time, I got to know Superintendent Johnson and we've become very good friends and colleagues," said Interim Superintendent Charlie Beck. "I am truly privileged for the opportunity to now serve as Interim Superintendent of the Chicago Police Department and build upon the incredible work done by Superintendent Johnson and the dedicated police officers in Chicago."
From implementing nation-leading body camera and de-escalation policies to partnering with local civil rights attorneys on reforms to build humane, constitutional and public trust-based policing, Chief Beck has played a pivotal role in strengthening partnerships, improving transparency and enhancing accountability within the LAPD. As the former leader of the third-largest police department in the nation, Chief Beck has worked closely with Superintendent Johnson over the past four years, partnering and sharing policing strategies and community outreach initiatives as part of both departments' ongoing efforts to build stronger trust between police and the communities and residents they serve.
Like Superintendent Johnson, Chief Beck has firmly stood on the side of immigrant rights in the face of opposition from the federal government’s immigration enforcement. As Chief of LAPD, Beck barred officers from making arrests based solely on immigration status and ensured the Department did not cooperate with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) on any immigration enforcement activities.
“While the patch on his sleeve may have differed from ours, Chief Beck brings more than 40 years of major city policing leadership to Chicago, and through his leadership and steady hands, he’ll maintain the momentum and lay the foundation for the next Superintendent of Chicago’s finest,” said Superintendent Johnson. “Chief Beck is not only a good friend of mine but he’s also been a mentor for me during the Department’s most tumultuous times, and I have full confidence he will build on the reforms underway today to create a better police department for tomorrow.”
As part of the leadership transition process over the coming weeks, Chief Beck and the Superintendent will meet with Chicago's police officers, community leaders, clergy, aldermen and advocates to hear the concerns and priorities of Chicago's residents. Additionally, the Police Board will conduct its national search for candidates for the position of Superintendent of the Chicago Police Department. Upon completion of the search process, the Police Board will submit three nominees to the Mayor, who will then appoint the Superintendent from the Board’s list with the advice and consent of the City Council.