Escalante takes top cop job at Northeastern Illinois University

- Chicago Police First Deputy Supt. John Escalante is leaving the department to become chief of police at Northeastern Illinois University, officials announced Tuesday.

Escalante, who served as interim superintendent for about four months after former Supt. Garry McCarthy’s ouster in December 2015, marked 30 years with CPD over the weekend. His last city patrol will be over Labor Day weekend before starting at the Northwest Side school Sept. 7.

“As Police Superintendent and a resident of Chicago, I have bittersweet emotions on John’s decision to accept this incredible opportunity as our Police Department will lose a very dedicated and intelligent crime fighter who cares deeply about the people and safety of our city,” CPD Supt. Eddie Johnson said in a statement.

“However, as a friend and father of college-aged children, I would be grateful knowing that John Escalante is the man safeguarding their college experience and future,” Johnson said.

“The students and faculty of Northeastern Illinois University couldn’t have chosen a better candidate for the position of Chief of Police and on behalf of the entire Chicago Police Department, I wish him the very best and thank him for his invaluable contributions to the City.”

NEIU has an enrollment of about 10,000 students and is opening its first residence hall this year. About 140 people applied for the police chief position during a national search, after the school’s former chief left for Augusta University in Georgia.

“John Escalante has a national reputation in the field of law enforcement for his experience, integrity and leadership,” NEIU President Sharon Hahs said in a statement. “We welcome him to the Northeastern Illinois University community as we work together to ensure a safe and healthy environment for our students, faculty and staff.”

Escalante made $197,724 per year with CPD. An NEIU spokesman could not immediately provide his new salary.

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