Larry Snelling, CPD superintendent pick, gets 1st public test in Pilsen Thursday night

Friday, September 8, 2023 3:05AM
CPD superintendent pick Larry Snelling to get 1st public test Thursday
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Mayor Brandon Johnson's pick to be the next Chicago police superintendent, Larry Snelling, will get his first public test in Pilsen Thursday.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Mayor Brandon Johnson's pick to be the next police superintendent got his first public test Thursday night.

Chief Larry Snelling answered questions during a public hearing that is required before the City Council can vote on his nomination.

Johnson introduced CPD Counterterrorism Chief Snelling last month as his pick to be the next police superintendent.

On Thursday night in Pilsen, at the National Museum of Mexican Art, got a chance to introduce himself to the public at a hearing before the Community Commission for Public Safety and Accountability.

"I think it's important for him to communicate his vision. I think folks may have questions about his background. I think it's important for him to connect with the community," said Anthony Driver Jr., president of the Community Commission for Public Safety and Accountability. "This is the chance for newly elected district council members to get their first eyes on who we hoped would be our new superintendent."

Snelling laid out his vision for leading CPD at the meeting.

"Until we all start working together, until we all become a team, we're failing every day," he said.

SEE ALSO: Mayor Johnson selects Larry Snelling as next Chicago police superintendent

Johnson said he selected Snelling, a department veteran who grew up and worked in Englewood, in part because of his ability as Englewood's district commander to forge positive community relationships.

After one attendee told Snelling he doesn't trust the system or promises made because in the past they've not been fulfilled, Snelling responded, "I am willing to listen to everybody. We don't have to agree on everything, but we should talk about it."

He said bridging the trust gap between police and public is a top priority that will also help reduce violent crime and improve the homicide clearance rate.

"The lack of trust in the police right now is one of the reasons that we don't have people coming forward to give us the information," he said.

And he said he'd work to reduce the number of officer who respond to mental health calls.

"This will free our officers up to deal with violent crime," Snelling said.

Snelling is expected to sail though the City Council confirmation process, which could begin as early as next week. This is the only public comment event scheduled before that begins.

"A strong leader, someone that knew how to work with the community and get the most out of men and women that serve under his leadership. So I'm looking forward to him being the next superintendent, doing everything we can to partner with the police department to make our communities safer," 19th District Ald. Matt O'Shea said.

Snelling will face a series of questions Thursday night, not only from the public, but from members of the commission and some of the newly elected police district council members.

But none of that is likely to impact his confirmation, which is expected to happen later this month.