Aurora Police Chief Kristen Ziman went on Facebook on Wednesday to explain why she interviewed — and was one of three final candidates — for the city of Chicago’s top police job.
Brown, Ziman and CPD Deputy Chief Ernest Cato were the three finalists selected by the Chicago Police Board for consideration as the next Chicago Police Department superintendent. Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot made the final decision.
Ziman earned national attention via her handling of the Pratt mass shooting in February 2019, in which five warehouse employees were killed and five police officers wounded.
She made a statement Wednesday (April 1, 2020) explaining her decision to pursue the Chicago job on the Aurora Police Department’s Facebook page, the full text of which is below.
Ziman’s Full Statement, Facebook Post
Dear Fellow Aurorans,
The rumors of my applying for the Chicago Police Department Superintendent’s position have been floating around for a while but I was not able to publicly share that I applied until now.
You, my community, are so important to me because you all have supported me individually as I strived to lead our police department over the past four+ years as your chief. You have supported our police officers and professional staff through both our brightest days and our darkest hours. It was during the darkness that I fully understood what it means to be a part of a community.
After our mass shooting, you wrapped your arms around us and that was what helped us heal. I believe we — the city of Aurora — and our police department have come back stronger than we were before.
Which is why it seems crazy that I would even think about leaving our city.
Back in December, I was approached by members of the Chicago Police Board and asked if I would be interested in applying for the Superintendent position. My first response was of disbelief that I was being “vetted” for a position that I didn’t pursue but I firmly believe that people see things in you that you don’t see in yourself. I feel immense gratitude and pride for being considered a worthy candidate.
I have grown up in Aurora and it is my home and the thought of leaving evokes strong emotion. I am blessed to serve the officers of APD and our community while working alongside a team of extraordinary people with whom I share the same vision about noble and professional policing.
The city administration under the leadership of Mayor Irvin has been supportive of our department and our mission so I had to work through the CPD opportunity with my circle of trusted advisors. Mayor Irvin was the first person I told that I was thinking about applying and in true Richard Irvin form, he said, “AURORA BUILDS LEADERS” and told me I had to go for it and that he would offer his unyielding support.
In my quiet moments, I have asked myself why I would even consider applying for Chicago which would catapult me into a place that is unfamiliar and uncertain. I have searched my soul and the answer continues to be the same. The reason I get out of bed every day is because I love policing. My role as chief provides me the greatest source of happiness — to watch our officers continue the evolution to make our profession better and our community safer.
It has been my mission to create a culture of respect within our walls because I firmly believe that how we treat one another manifests to you — the citizens we serve. I have always believed that there is nothing weak about showing compassion to all of our community – even those who break the law. I have watched APD officers rise to a heightened level of professionalism while sacrificing themselves to serve others.
I believe we have done great work together at APD and now I feel as though I can make a difference in Chicago by helping to unleash the skills and talent of the officers there. There are so many professionals at CPD that have been unfairly painted with a broad brush of transgressions that are not theirs. I believe I have the passion and energy to meet the challenges that exist in Chicago I so I decided to pursue the opportunity.
I submitted my application to Chicago on January 10th. The Chicago Police Board narrowed down the applicants and I was invited to participate in the first round of interviews that were held the last week in January. Tonight I learned that I am among the 3 finalists submitted to Mayor Lightfoot who makes the ultimate decision.
Taking a risk is never a safe option but for me, the safe option is almost always the worst option. I have come to understand that opportunities come in with the tide and sometimes you’ve just got to get on and see where it takes you. I’m doing just that.
If it takes me to Chicago, I am confident in the succession plan we’ve built and I know that APD and this city will continue to flourish as it always has. If I fall short and am not chosen, my focus and energy will remain steadfast with APD.
No matter what happens, I’m proud that I’ve made it this far. I’ve learned over my life that the universe unfolds precisely as it’s supposed to and I’m confident that this will be no different. The lesson I hope you take from this for yourselves is that a risk is always worth taking even if failure is a possible outcome.
Aurorans, thank you for teaching me that there is strong — but that’s nothing compared to AURORA STRONG.
Onward and upward to you all.