CHICAGO (WLS) — Larry Snelling, Mayor Brandon Johnson’s pick to be the Chicago’s next police superintendent, spoke to the city council Friday about his priorities for the force and the communities they serve.
Snelling grew up in Englewood and said his childhood experience is the foundation of his 31-year career at the Chicago Police Department. As the city struggles with more armed robberies and carjackings, Snelling said rehabilitation options must be considered for young offenders.
“If we don’t live in that community, if you don’t understand those community members if you don’t understand what those children are dealing with you have no clue what they need,” he said.
At the same time, Snelling told city council members that the community needs to step up and help police do their jobs. The 54-year-old reminded the council that police are not robots.
“These are human beings, these are men and women,” Snelling said. “I see them every day. I saw them through civil unrest, I saw what they dealt with, I saw names they were called, the yelling, screaming at our officers.”
Snelling strongly supports more resources at the district level to help with an officer’s mental health.
“What we need to do is make sure those officers are getting enough time off to decompress,” he said.
And Snelling said helping officers feel supported and appreciated is the key to retaining them. He said the process of recruiting more officers, particularly ones of color must start in the community.
As for reducing gun violence, Snelling said tougher laws are needed for repeat gun offenders.
When asked about the controversial ShotSpotter technology, Snelling did not directly answer the question.
“I’m for any technology that will reduce violent crime and save lives,” he said.
One of Johnson’s campaign promises was to get rid of ShotSpotter. In the meantime, now that Snelling’s confirmation has cleared committee, the full city council will vote on his confirmation at a special meeting on Wednesday,