Lori Lightfoot speaks out about the kind of 'Top Cop' Chicago is seeking

CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) - It may be one of the toughest jobs in America right now, but it pays more than a quarter-million dollars a year.

Thirty-nine individuals have applied to become Chicago's new Police Superintendent. The President of the Police Board talked Tuesday about the kind of ‘Top Cop’ they're seeking.

Chicago's police union suggests total arrests are down because the morale of rank and file officers is also down, and that they're worried in the wake of public anger over police shootings. FOX 32 asked the president of the police board about that.

“I don't mean to be flip. But I guess my initial response is, ‘Welcome to the Real World’,” Lori Lightfoot said.

Lightfoot oversees the search for a new police superintendent, regarding it as a first step in redefining the duties of every cop on the force.

“The job is not the same as people who were on-boarded in the '70s, or the '80s, or the '90s or even the early 2000s. And we have to be innovative. We have to move forward. And we have to give those folks the resources to meet whatever the new challenges are,” she said.

Lightfoot's the latest to signal tough negotiations are coming over the police union's contract that expires in 2017. 

“Frankly, what I think we need to do is a have a realistic discussion about what that job description ought to look like,” she said.

Lightfoot said there may be new rules about how officers deal with residents and about reporting misconduct by their colleagues, which is the so-called cops' ‘code of silence.’

Policing will be as tough as ever.

“Talking fighting terrorism, whether it's different strategies and approaches, to dealing with a flood of illegal guns that are on our street, or the way in which we have to rethink and recalibrate the way in which we engage with the community,” Lightfoot said.

She added it's foolish to expect police to solve problems the rest of us ignore.

“The police cannot be the parents, the guardians, the teachers, the social workers, mental health or drug addiction counselors and of course the list goes on and on,” Lightfoot said. “We unfairly expect the police to take on and solve all of these challenges.”

As of now, the public only knows one of the 39 applicants for superintendent, which is interim top cop John Escalante. The public's next chance to weigh in is a public hearing this Thursday evening at Police Headquarters, 35th & Michigan.

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