Chicago Police Department reform chief resigns abruptly, citing ‘retaliation’

The Chicago Police Department’s reform chief tendered her resignation this week, saying she will resign “due to retaliation” and citing the state’s whistleblower law.

Tina Skahill’s planned departure comes just months after the ouster of her predecessor, Robert Boik, who was sacked last August after criticizing the former police superintendent. David Brown’s decision to transfer nearly 50 officers under his command to the Bureau of Patrol.

Skahill filed paperwork announcing his resignation on Monday and stated that he plans to retire on June 17, according to a document obtained by the Sun-Times. He does not detail the retaliation or say why he cited the law.

“The reporting member is filing this resignation due to retaliation as defined by Chicago Police Department directives, the Chicago Municipal Code, and the Illinois Whistleblower Law,” according to the document, which does not offer further details about the explosive claim. .

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

Skahill became an influential adviser to Brown before succeeding Boik as executive director of watchdog and constitutional reform, a position tasked with implementing sweeping departmental changes mandated by a federal consent decree prompted by the police killing of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald. , in 2014.

Earlier this month, the Sun-Times reported that Acting Superintendent. 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, is led 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 cost associated with it,” Waller wrote in a terse email to Skahill on May 19. “Today, send a letter to PLET notifying them that CPD will no longer need your services as of June 1, 2023.”

Department spokesmen previously acknowledged that officials paid attention to the directive. On Thursday, they did not respond to questions about Skahill’s resignation, his accusation of retaliation or whether there were consequences for the email.

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

Under Brown, the department’s reform efforts were stifled by personnel problems and policy errors. 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’s unclear if Waller or his replacement will pick the next reform chief.

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 told colleagues that he was applying for the superintendent position, the sources said. His departure and the retaliation claim now add a layer of intrigue to the proceedings.

As a sworn officer, Skahill rose to the rank of chief in both the Internal Affairs Bureau and the Special Duties Section. After initially retiring in 2013, he later returned and held senior civilian posts under the former superintendent. Eddie Johnson and then Brown, an outsider who struggled hard in Chicago and relied on Skahill’s institutional knowledge.