Former LAPD Chief Charlie Beck Expected to Be Named Interim ‘Top Cop’

Johnson is expected to stay in his role through the end of the year

Former LA Police Chief Charlie Beck is expected to be named the interim Chicago police superintendent following Supt. Eddie Johnson's retirement. 

Though the mayor's office would not confirm the move Thursday, an announcement is expected to be made Friday. 

Beck comes highly recommended by the law enforcement community, with former LAPD chief and NYC police commissioner Bill Bratton calling the decision a "good move." 

Although he has not confirmed if he would accept the position, hiring Beck would allow the police board to conduct its search for a permanent replacement. 

"CPD needs strong leadership and I want the next top cop to continue making improvements to public safety and in the department that I love," Johnson said.  

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot would not confirm rumors on who would replace Johnson Wednesday, saying she has not begun the process of looking for a replacement. 

"I’ve seen a lot of speculation about different names, some of which are wildly offbase," she said at the time. 

On another hand, Beck is 66 years old and mandatory CPD retirement age is 63, so he would have to accept the job as a civilian.

Johnson will continue to serve as the city's top cop through the end of the year, Lightfoot revealed moments after he announced plans to retire from his post Thursday. 

"This is a tough moment for me personally," Lightfoot said. "We return him back to the loving arms of his wife and children." 

Lightfoot acknowledged Thursday that Johnson "continues to have my unwavering confidence and support." 

"He took on a job he did not apply for at a time when our city could have come apart," she said. 

Johnson made the major announcement following days of speculation and hints. 

"It's time for someone else to pin these four stars to their shoulders," he said on the verge of tears in a press conference. "These stars can sometimes feel like carrying the weight of the world, but I'm confident that I leave CPD in a better place than when I became superintendent." 

Johnson acknowledged that being the city's top cop "has taken its toll."

"Taken a toll on my health, my family, my friends, but my integrity remains in tact," he said. 

The decision comes days after Johnson, who is currently the center of an investigation, said he was considering retirement so he could spend more time with his family. 

Johnson told reporters that his decision was not related to the recent investigation into an incident in which he was found asleep behind the wheel of his SUV last month.

Johnson initially said a change in medication triggered the incident and he felt "lightheaded" while driving, but Lightfoot later clarified during an interview with the Sun-Times that Johnson revealed "he had a couple of drinks with dinner." 

Johnson ordered an internal investigation of the incident, citing the need for "transparency."

"Whether you are a police officer or a superintendent, all officers ought to be held to the highest standard," Johnson said through a spokesperson. 

Johnson underwent successful kidney transplant surgery in 2017. His private health battle at the time became public in January 2017 when he almost fainted at a news conference after he said a reaction to blood sugar medication made him lightheaded. Johnson's donated kidney came from his son.

Johnson said he plans to simply "give myself a breather."

"Maybe I'll come back as a reporter," he joked.

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