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Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Superintendent Eddie Johnson's True Character Revealed

Last year, one of my officers contemplated suicide.

The story has a happy ending but it took him over a year to fight the system to keep his job because the state revoked his FOID card as a result of being an inpatient at a mental health facility. Our city leaders supported me in fighting for his job and we attended depositions and hearings with determination.

The only way to get to the other side is to go through it and this officer fought to get there. 

During this time, I was at an unrelated meeting with Superintendent Eddie Johnson and shared this story with him. He called me to follow up out of concern for our officer and we shared our thoughts about the system being designed to prevent a police officer from asking for help. After witnessing what this officer went through, anyone else struggling would be deterred from seeking guidance. We commiserated but decided that it was up to us to change the culture. I appreciated Superintendent Johnson’s care and concern for my officer and his passion for fighting this affliction in our profession. 

The following year, we had a mass shooting where five people were killed and five of my officers were shot. Superintendent Johnson was among the first to reach out and ask what we needed. He offered prayers for our officers and support for our entire department as we attempted to navigate our darkest day. He said, “Aurora is our sister city so let us know what you need from Chicago.”

I will never forget the care and concern Eddie showed for our officers and me. I have watched him navigate the perils of leading the 2nd largest city in our nation and I have been proud to see the accomplishments that CPD has achieved in the last few years. And in the middle of it, he took the time to reach out and offer support. That tells me all I need to know about another human.

On behalf of your sister city, I thank you for your 31 years of dedicated service to our noble profession and wish you peace and contentment as you turn the page to the next chapter of your life.

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