CHICAGO (CBS) — Chicagoans heard for the first time on Friday from Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s new appointee to head up police oversight in the city.
Sydney Roberts testified before the Chicago City Council’s Public Safety Committee.
But the real showdown is still to come over how much control to give civilians.
CBS 2 political reporter Derrick Blakley has the story.
In city council testimony, veteran police administrator Sydney Roberts promised fairness, integrity and transparency.
“I am committed to maintaining independence and rendering findings exclusively upon the facts,” says Roberts.
But, after promising openness, city hall handlers hustled Roberts out of chambers to try to elude reporters.
“I look forward to engaging the community in police reform,” she says.
Roberts is Director of Illinois Secretary of State Police.
She formerly worked for the Illinois Executive Inspector General.
And once led internal affairs for Maywood Police.
But even if approved, Roberts long-term fate could be up to a new, proposed civilian police panel that may have the power to fire both her and the police superintendent.
“What we are recommending is that community members have a direct role in policy making and those questions around hiring and firing,” says Erik Martinez of the group Grass Roots Alliance For Police Accountability.
For her part, Roberts said she’d have no problem with that arrangement.
“How I’m selected, should I be selected, and who I report to, does not change how I would carry out my duties as chief administrator,” says Roberts.
Encouraging for those seeking greater civilian control.
“She spoke the right way about process, accountability and transparency,” says Ald. Ricardo Munoz, 22nd.
However, Roberts gave no hint how she would come down on the dispute between COPA and Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson over the deadly police shooting of Quintonio LeGrier.
COPA has ruled that shooting was unjustified.
Johnson ruled it justified.
If the two sides can’t agree, the police board will ultimately decide.