CHICAGO -- Mayor Lori Lightfoot announced former Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck will serve as interim Chicago police superintendent with the retirement of Superintendent Eddie Johnson.
"I want to tell you how excited I am to work with Mayor Lightfoot and continue the legacy of my close friend Eddie Johnson," Beck said.
Beck, 66, is the son of a former cop and a native of Long Beach, California. He served in the LAPD for 41 years and became chief in 2009 before retiring in 2018.
Beck will work side-by-side with Johnson until the end of the year, a prospect the outgoing superintendent says would have value.
"I do know Charlie Beck, he has been a friend and a mentor," Johnson said. "Back in 2016, when things were just spiraling out of control, I reached out to several other cities and he was one of them and he has been a friend to me from that moment."
Johnson says his eventual successor needs to be involved in the community, willing to talk to his or her critics and both advocate for and hold accountable rank-and-file officers.
Speaking to students at the University of Chicago Thursday night, Johnson could barely contain his emotions.
"And I love this department, so it's not easy, but mentally, I'm in a good place," Johnson said.
Earlier, joined by family, the 59-year-old Johnson said he'd thought about retiring for months. He said the ongoing investigation into last month's incident where he was found slumped over in his car had no bearing on his decision, citing a recent family trip to London.
"It made me feel normal and it made me feel how much I wanted to get that back," Johnson said.
Mayor Lightfoot praised the career cop for his three decades' of service, including nearly four years as superintendent.
"Superintendent Johnson took on the challenge of reducing violence throughout our city and changing the culture within the CPD," Lightfoot said.
Johnson's last day on the job will be December 31. He said he plans to take at least a month off before deciding what's next. He said he's a high octane kind of guy, so he says there's no doubt he'll be doing something down the road.