CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) - Knocking down violent crime will be no easy task for the new interim superintendent.
“We're in a critical time, not just with the police department but in the city of Chicago. We have to figure out a way to get this violence down,” said Interim Police Supt. Eddie Johnson.
Chicago's new top cop doesn't mince his words. But less than 24 hours into his new job, he’s also offering few specifics on how he’ll reduce shootings and homicides.
“Police can't solve the crime problem in Chicago alone, so we need the community, the business owners, the elected officials, everybody has stake in this game,” Johnson said.
Like former Superintendent Garry McCarthy, Johnson says stopping the violence starts with cracking down on repeat gun offenders.
“We know they're out there. It’s just a small segment of society creating all this havoc. And we have to figure out ways to make them accountable for what they do,” Johnson said.
Just as important, he says, are parents keeping their kids in line.
“In the community where I live, I'm constantly telling people there, we have to be parents. We have to be mothers and fathers to these youngsters out here shooting. And we have to hold our kids accountable for what they do. Police alone cannot solve this problem,” Johnson said.
Johnson says he'll reach out to community leaders. He met with Father Michael Pfleger Tuesday afternoon.
Earlier, he showed up at a 15th District roll call. He says the Laquan McDonald shooting and the murder charges against Officer Jason Van Dyke have left officers confused and hurt.
As for his own accountability, he says politics has no place in the department and admits being shocked when the Mayor's office approached him about the job.
“I spoke to my godmother about this, and one of the comments she made to me was, "Eddie, sometimes it's not about you, and it’s not about what you think is right at the time. Sometimes it’s about what God thinks is right,” Johnson said.
As to complaints that some high crime neighborhoods are getting shortchanged on police resources, Johnson says as chief of patrol, he kept a close eye on deployment. He doesn't see the need for more than a little fine tuning.