Barbara West, the 15th District police commander since March 2012, has been reappointed to the 11th District, according to law enforcement officials in both districts. West’s replacement is Lt. Dwayne Betts, who served in the 6th District before his promotion.
Leroy Duncan, a Chicago Police Alternative Policing Strategies (CAPS) beat facilitator for the 25th District, said the reappointment has been effective for at least a week and is just the latest in police Superintendent Gary McCarthy’s revolving door approach to top personnel appointments.
“We had the same problem in the 25th District,” Duncan said in an interview today with the Austin Weekly.
“The community is stable, things are going well, and all of a sudden [the commander] is gone. A lot of people are upset in the 15th District, just as we were in the 25th. This is becoming a problem.”
The revolving door policy isn’t limited to Austin — or the West Side. Last March, DNAinfo reported on the community angst that accompanied the reassignment of 3rd District Cmdr. Glenn Evans to the 11th District. Evans, who was indicted on aggravated battery and official misconduct charges last September, was hailed by McCarthy at the time as one of the department’s “best and brightest.” McCarthy indicated that Evans was needed to replace a commander who wasn’t getting the job done.
“We [often] take commanders from slower districts to […] busier districts, and we have a problem on the West Side,” said McCarthy, according to DNAinfo. “We need our best and brightest as commanders. Glenn Evans is one of my favorites.”
But the reappointment was met with sharp disappointment by dozens of residents who lived within the 3rd District and who praised Evans’ leadership.
Cece Edwards, 3rd District resident, told DNAinfo that Evans was that community’s “first attempt to build a better relationship with the police [which is] why it would be an injustice not to return Commander Evans.”
McCarthy explained that a typical commander spends about two years with a district, a length of time he considered a mark of progress. Previously, he said, one of the main factors in commander promotion was clout, but “that is not the case anymore,” McCarthy said.