Top cop shakes up police department

Chicago's top cop today dumped most of his department's top managers, replaced them with new blood, and appointed an outsider to oversee officer misconduct investigations.

Superintendent Jody P. Weis brought in Peter F. Brust, a former special agent from the FBI's Los Angeles field office, to head the new Bureau of Professional Standards.

He also named James B. Jackson, a 23-year veteran of the Chicago force, to the post of first deputy superintendent and announced new heads for the patrol, detective, and strategic deployment bureaus.

"I believe that these men and women represent a well-rounded, diverse, and experienced team of leaders, who will continue to carry out the department's mission, work to establish good will in the community, and provide opportunities for the rank and file who have a strong desire to advance within the organization," says Weis.

Brust, a 23-year veteran of the FBI, worked previously with Weis in California and Arizona, according to a spokeswoman for the Police Department. He is expected to join the department next week.

The Bureau of Professional Standards includes the department's training and internal affair operations, among other functions.

Weis named Marquette District Commander Beatrice Cuello to head the patrol bureau. Detective Division Deputy Chief Michael Shields will take over at the Bureau of Strategic Deployment, and Area Four Detective Commander Steve Peterson will head the detective bureau. 

Mark Donahue, president of the police union, says Weis's choices represented a departure from a traditional selection process that focused on time served in the department.

"They are reflective of his goal of giving people who haven't had as much time in the department an opportunity to move forward," says Donahue.

Typically bureau heads have served 25 years or more in the department, while each of the new appointees has not.

"They've got careers that exemplify what this new superintendent is looking for both in terms of field exposure and academics," added Donahue. "He's looking for some new ideas and he's looking for a few individuals who will think out of the box."

The moves come after years of highly-publicized scandals involving police misconduct and abuse, including allegations that Commander Jon Burge and his officers tortured suspects throughout the 1980s and 1990s.

Jackson, who has been Harrison district commander since 2003, will oversee the department's day-to-day law enforcement operations and report directly to Weis.

"This was a tough decision to make, particularly with all of the talent and knowledge that make up this organization," Weis said in a press release. "I believe Commander Jackson's hands-on approach will continue to move the department's day-to-day operations forward with efficiency and strategy, keeping our communities and residents safe."

Weis cited Jackson's experience in some of the city's most violent districts and his track record on gangs and narcotics as factors in his choice.

The appointment of first deputy superintendent was an issue that surfaced repeatedly at Weis's confirmation hearing in January. Several aldermen called on the superintendent to select someone who would be familiar with Chicago and sensitive to the concerns of Chicago's minority communities.

The appointment of Jackson, who is black, may resolve some of those concerns.

He previously served as Area One Detective Commander and worked as a gang sergeant. He began his career as a 4th district police officer and holds a master's degree in law enforcement administration from Calumet College of St. Joseph.

Hiram Grau, who headed the detective bureau, Charles Williams, who headed patrol operations, and John Risley,
who commanded the strategic deployment bureau, retired when the personnel changes were announced.