City Council to vote Wednesday to confirm Eddie Johnson as top cop

Interim Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson has a clear path to be named Chicago’s new top cop.

A City Council committee has now voted to bypass a system that goes back more than 50 years, so that the Mayor's choice could get the job.

“I love this city. I love this department,” Johnson said.

There was a lot of love going around Tuesday as Interim Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson received mostly praise and congratulations from members of the Public Safety Committee.

The toughest questions during the confirmation hearing dealt with controlling police overtime, which is down 14 percent this year, rebuilding the CAPS program and reducing police misconduct that has cost taxpayers millions.

“We're working on mechanisms now that we can flag inappropriate behavior early on,” Johnson said.

Johnson's two hours of testimony followed an hour-long debate on Mayor Emanuel's effort to bypass the Police Review Board in the search for a new superintendent. The mayor selected Johnson instead of the three candidates originally offered by the police board, and their first search cost half a million dollars. The mayor wanted to avoid another one.

Alderman Patrick Thompson, the only vote against the Mayor's plan, said the police board's background checks were important.

“So my question is, who is now vetting, if we're modifying the ordinance, who's doing that vetting? Who’s doing the background check?” Thompson said.

But the Mayor's supporters said a search for new candidates would be a waste of time.

“We need to do what's right, get this man in there and take care of the business, we don’t' have time to play. Because I'm tired of seeing people getting killed in our Wards,” said Alderman Walter Burnett.

On Wednesday, the full City Council will have to sign off on the Mayor's plan to skip another search by the police board. After that, they'll question the interim superintendent once again before voting on his appointment.