Chicago Interim Police Supt. Eric Carter announced Thursday that he plans to step down while the newly formed commission continues to seek a permanent replacement for his predecessor.
Carter plans to officially retire on May 15, just two months after he took over the Chicago Police Department from Supt. David Brown, whose tenure was marked by a historic spike in violent crime, low officer morale and slow progress to meet court-ordered reforms.
The announcement comes as the newly created Community Commission on Public Safety and Accountability is conducting a nationwide search for a replacement candidate for Brown, who serves as the department's second-ranking officer.
“To the residents of Chicago, law enforcement agencies, clergy, community leaders, and the many organizations who work every day alongside CPD, thank you,” Carter said in a statement. “Your ongoing partnership strengthens public safety every day across our great city.”
In an email to members of the department, Carter said he told Brown he planned to retire late last year and has since notified Lightfoot and Mayor-elect Brandon Johnson. Carter's wife retires as a police captain in March 2022.
In the email, Carter committed to working with Johnson “to ensure that our department continues to provide transformational services to our residents and visitors throughout the summer” as the police's search for the next top continues.
A veteran of the US Marine Corps, Carter rose through the ranks of the police department and eventually became a superintendent. He previously served in a variety of high-ranking roles, including as chief of counterterrorism bureau, deputy chief of the bureau of organized crime and commander of the South Chicago and Gresham districts.
“Looking back from my early days in Englewood to now working hand in hand with every community in the city of Chicago, I will always cherish those experiences and memories,” Carter wrote in the email.
“To the members of our command staff who have worked tirelessly beside me over the years, thank you. We cannot make a difference without working together to meet the needs of a growing community and city. I am proud we have moved this city forward and I am sure our impact will continue to be felt throughout the city.”
Shortly after Carter announced his retirement, Lightfoot congratulated him on his 30 year career in the department.
“As a Marine, husband, and father, he has given himself fully to the service of the residents of this city and the officers under his command,” Lightfoot said in a statement. “I thank him for his dedicated commitment to our city and for leading courageous law enforcement officers to keep us safe. I wish him all the best as he transitions into the next chapter.”
Carter's career was not without controversy.
After the fatal shooting of Officer Ella French in August 2021, she angered grieving officers who gathered at the Cook County medical examiner's office for the final shipment. Ignoring the sacred ritual, he impatiently declared: “We don't have time for this—-.”
He demanded that the Chicago Fire Department ambulance carrying French's body be taken directly to the medical examiner's office, skipping the traditional bagpipe game.
“We're not waiting on the bagpipes,” Carter said on a recording. “Go ahead and bring the vehicle inside.”
This is an evolving story. Check back soon to find out more.