Weis announces second shake-up of cops

Chicago Police Superintendent Jody Weis has undertaken a far-reaching reorganization of the department that includes new commanders for 21 of the city's 25 districts.

Up to 20 other high ranking officials are to be replaced.

This is the second shake-up of the police command staff since the former Philadelphia FBI agent was sworn in as superintendent on Feb. 1.

Weis was charged by Mayor Richard M. Daley with restoring trust in a department whose reputation has suffered under repeated allegations of police brutality and misconduct.

On Feb. 15 Weis named new heads for the patrol, detective, and strategic deployment bureaus. He also skipped several ranks to name James B. Jackson to the post of first deputy superintendent and selected Peter Brust, a former Los Angeles FBI agent, to head the newly created Bureau of Professional Standards, which will oversee training and internal affairs operations.

The changes reflect Weis's commitment to improving community relations and internal affairs and "diversifying the ranks," according to a press release.

Weis characterized the selection process as "focused and deliberate in choosing proven leaders."

"Many of these faces are familiar to the rank and file as well as the community, and I believe they are solid choices that will no doubt enhance the department's mission going forward," Weis said in the press release issued Thursday.

Mark Donahue, president of the police union, says the speed of the changes was unprecedented.

"Well it's my take that he came into town and made changes in a very short period of time like we've never seen before of this volume," says Donahue.

"We back him on what he's attempting to do," Donahue says. "But ... is the chain of command going to be able to retain the level of service to the community in regards to manpower and other resources?

Sixteen of the district commanders who are leaving were promoted, eight others were either reassigned or retained, and one acting district commander has yet to be announced.

Among the other changes: Area 2 Deputy Chief Tina Skahill was named chief of Internal Affairs, now part of the Bureau of Professional Standards; Deb Kirby, former assistant deputy of Internal Affairs, was appointed general counsel to  Weis; and Thomas Byrne was promoted to chief of detectives.

Also promoted were Bruce Rottner, deputy Chief Area 3, patrol division; Wayne Gulliford, deputy chief Area 4, patrol division; and Joe Patterson, deputy chief area 1, patrol division.

In addition, Commander Lynette Helm, 2nd district, was named chief of CAPS.

Twenty-seven of the "roughly 40" total positions replaced are promotions, says police spokeswoman Monique Bond. The rest are mostly lateral moves, she says.

Bond says the promotions represent a "significant amount of diversity."

Several of the new commanders spoke to the press after a swearing-in ceremony for new officers today. They stayed on message, highlighting the themes of community relations and accountability that Weis has been emphasizing since taking office.

The new 20th district commander, Lucy Moy-Bartosik, said that getting the police "out to the community to answer questions" would be a chief priority.

She added that there would be little lenience for rogue cops in her district.

"Police officers are just as upset as the community about corrupt officers," she said.

The new 16th district commander, Anthony Riccio, said that he would be looking closely at accountability for both supervisors and officers on the street.

When asked about possible morale problems that could arise from the re-shuffling, Riccio was optimistic.

"I think you can create a nice environment for a police officer to work in by clearly laying down what the goals are going to be," said Riccio. "Also by laying down clear boundaries."

"It's all about customer service," Riccio added.