Larry Snelling, the Chicago Police Department’s 54-year-old counterterrorism chief, is Mayor Brandon Johnson’s choice to be the city’s new superintendent. Determined to improve poor police morale, Johnson chose the 28-year police department veteran over two other finalists: Angel Novalez, the head of the Chicago police Office of Constitutional Policing and Reform and Madison, Wi., Police Chief Shon Barnes. Johnson called Snelling "a proven leader who has the experience and the respect of his peers to help ensure the safety and well-being of city residents, and address the complex challenges we all face related to community safety,” reports the Chicago Sun-Times. Snelling’s appointment to the $260,004-a-year job must be confirmed by the City Council.
If confirmed, Snelling will succeed interim superintendent Fred Waller. Waller’s work on “building the morale of our rank-and-file members has been absolutely remarkable,” the mayor said. Snelling must restore the trust of officers who lost faith in David Brown, the retired Dallas police chief chosen by then-Mayor Lori Lightfoot. Many in the rank-and-file never believed Brown had their backs or understood Chicago. Snelling’s to-do list includes speeding compliance with a federal consent decree, restoring trust between citizens and police, driving murders and shootings down and homicide clearance rates up and stopping a spike in robberies that has made some residents fear walking down the street, even in daylight. Snelling has trained many officers as a tough-love fitness instructor at the Chicago Police Training Academy. Anthony Driver, president of the new Community Commission for Public Safety and Accountability, led the search for a new police head. He said “Snelling’s readiness to confront challenging issues head-on and devise comprehensive solutions throughout his 28-year career exemplify his ability to navigate the multifaceted challenges" at the police department.