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Ex-Chicago police commander pleads guilty to stealing Social Security after mother's death

Jason Meisner, Chicago Tribune on

Published in News & Features

"I knew Cmdr. Johnson well from his efforts to reduce violence in Englewood, but if proven, these allegations erode the public's trust and tarnish his service to Chicago," the superintendent said in November.

Johnson's efforts as Englewood's police commander were heavily touted by the superintendent, who often spoke of the district's reductions in shootings and homicides during public appearances. In 2017, the superintendent noted how nonfatal shootings in the district were at their lowest levels in years.

"Today, and I never thought I'd say this after being a cop for nearly 30 years, Englewood is leading the city in violence reductions this year," the superintendent said in a speech at a City Club of Chicago luncheon.

Police officials have credited some of the improvement in Englewood to a Strategic Decision Support Center that allows district personnel to, among other things, analyze real-time crime data to predict where shootings will occur and use gun detection technology to help officers respond more quickly to those incidents.

During an interview with the Chicago Tribune last year, Kenneth Johnson, who became a Chicago cop in 1986 and took over as Englewood's commander in 2016, also credited some of the district's violence reduction at that point to inroads that officers had made with anti-violence outreach workers and citizens in the communities who long distrusted the police.

But he acknowledged that fully winning over the community would take a lot more time.

 

"This trust, it's not an easily won thing," he told a Tribune reporter at police headquarters, flanked by his twin brother, Kevin Johnson, who was promoted in August to deputy chief. "Trust is easily broken and very difficult to win."

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