Interim CPD Supt. challenges protesters to join force, make change from within

CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) - The release of videos like the Laquan McDonald shooting video was a topic of discussion Friday as FOX 32’s Dawn Hasbrouck sat down with interim Chicago Police Superintendent John Escalante.

Escalante, a St. Ignatius Prep and Lewis University graduate, says he believes in transparency, and that he will cooperate with any department of justice investigation if that's what happens as a result of the video release.

FOX 32 News asked him about eroding trust on both sides of the issue. Some people no longer trust officers. And some officers no longer believe their superiors have their back.

“We are going to work on those absolutely. But I also know that just in the last two days, I'm getting emails and phone calls from people I really don't even know that are actually being very supportive and wishing luck and wishing me the best. So I know that as many people who doubt us right now, there are that many people that support us as well. But we have to bring them both together, and that's what we're going to work on,” Escalante said.

Escalante went on to say that he does not believe more officers are needed to lower the crime rate in Chicago because the department is at the same staffing level as last year. And last year, they saw "historic lows in the violent crime rate."

Escalante did say, however, that police are continuing to look at what is driving the violence.

But this highest ranking Latino at the Chicago Police Department said repairing the relationship between officers and the community starts with getting officers hired that represent the community.

“We definitely have to make some improvements in that hiring process in getting more minorities to come on the job. I hope that the protests and controversy are not going to take away from that hiring process, because we really are hoping that we'll be able to get that diverse pool that we're looking for,” He said.

He went on to share a pretty powerful message for the protesters.

"We have some young vocal critics that are protesting, and rightfully so. I perfectly understand it, but I would challenge them to not just point the finger, but if they're eligible apply for this job, Come on this job and help make change from within."

And of course, FOX 32 News asked whether Escalante is interested in a permanent job at top cop.

He said he has been too busy to think about it, but did always dream of one day being chief.

There are about 300 openings for officers and the department recruits when additional positions become available.

You can apply between now and January 31, and the test is in April.

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