Chicago Police Department reform chief suddenly resigns, claims 'revenge'

The Chicago Police Department's reform chief tendered his resignation this week, saying he was resigning “out of retaliation” and citing the state's whistleblower laws.

Tina Skahill's planned exit comes just months after the ouster of her predecessor Robert Boik, who was fired last August after criticizing the former Police Supt. David Brown's decision to transfer nearly 50 officers under his command to the Bureau of Patrol.

Skahill submitted documents announcing his retirement on Monday and stated he plans to retire on June 17, according to documents obtained by the Sun-Times. It did not detail the reprisals or say why he was citing the law.

“The reporting member submitted this resignation due to retaliation as defined under the directives of the Chicago Police Department, the Chicago Municipal Code and the Illinois Whistleblower Act,” according to the document, which gave no further details about the explosion claim.

A licensed attorney, Skahill has worked for the department for more than three decades. He did not respond to a request for comment.

Skahill served as an influential adviser to Brown before succeeding Boik as executive director of police and constitutional reform, a position charged with implementing departmental changes mandated by a federal approval decision sparked by the police killing of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald in 2014.

Earlier this month, the Sun-Times reported that Supt. Fred Waller had ordered Skahill to end the department's relationship with a Texas company that had been paid at least $1.3 million to train officers. The firm, Professional Law Enforcement Training, was headed by Byron Boston, who served in the Dallas Police Department with Brown.

“I have been made aware of the CPD training agreement with PLET and the significant costs associated with it,” Waller wrote in a brief email to Skahill on May 19. their services as of June 1, 2023.”

A spokesperson for the department previously acknowledged that officials were heeding the directive. On Thursday, they did not respond to questions about Skahill's resignation, his allegations of reprisal, or whether there was any impact from the email.

A spokeswoman for Maggie Hickey, the federally appointed monitor that oversees compliance with consent decisions, declined to comment.

Under Brown, the department's reform efforts were held back by staff woes and policy missteps. In March 2022, city officials were given an additional three years to comply with the court order, extending a process that could cost up to $100 million to a total of eight years.

It is unclear whether Waller or his successor will choose the next head of reform.

The Community Commission on Public Safety and Accountability will soon present Mayor Brandon Johnson with three candidates to lead the department under the new administration.

Skahill had told colleagues he was applying for the superintendent job, sources said. His departure and claims of retribution now add another layer of intrigue to the proceedings.

As a sworn officer, Skahill rose through the ranks to head the Bureau of Home Affairs and the Special Functions Section. After initially retiring in 2013, he later returned and held high-ranking civilian roles under former Supt. Eddie Johnson and later Brown, outsiders who fought tooth and nail in Chicago and relied on Skahill's institutional knowledge.