WASHINGTON — Chicago police officers, who have been criticized for their lack of accountability and transparency, are being promoted to chief and fire chiefs in cities across the country.
Police union officials said the promotions are a significant step forward, and that the new roles are intended to give police officers greater transparency and accountability.
“The officers are making significant strides in improving the way they are doing their jobs,” said David Dunn, president of the Chicago Police Officers Association.
“We hope the promotion will help in making the public trust them and their officers.”
The promotions come after police unions in Chicago and other large cities pushed back against efforts by the Obama administration to make police officers’ body cameras mandatory.
Police departments nationwide have begun using the devices to document the actions of officers, and Chicago has been at the forefront of pushing for more transparency and transparency-based policies.
Dunn said the new promotions, first reported by the Chicago Sun-Times, mark a significant milestone for police departments in recent years.
Chicago police Chief Janee Harteau and Chief James Neill, who also are on the city’s executive committee, both have been critical of the federal Justice Department’s new rules, which were announced in October.
They said they wanted to see a system that would enable police departments to monitor their officers’ use of force and the conduct of officers in public.
In Washington, D.C., police Chief Cathy Lanier has been a vocal critic of the Justice Department rules.
And she is expected to announce in the coming weeks that she will retire in July.
The move comes after a long, tumultuous tenure that saw the department accused of misconduct by the Justice Dept. In May, she stepped down after more than four years on the job.
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel has also criticized the Justice department’s policies, saying they unfairly target police departments.
And in a scathing editorial last week, the Chicago Tribune said the department’s chief should resign, and said she should be removed from her job.