Mayor Lightfoot reportedly names Deborah Witzburg as new city inspector general

CHICAGO (SCS) — More than five months after former Chicago Inspector General Joseph Ferguson stepped down as the city’s top watchdog, Mayor Lori Lightfoot is reportedly set to name his former senior deputy to replace him.

According to multiple published reports, Lightfoot will appoint former Deputy Inspector General for Public Safety Deborah Witzburg as the city’s new Inspector General.

Lightfoot declined to confirm or deny the reports at an independent press conference on Wednesday afternoon, but suggested a formal announcement would take place on Thursday.

“I will not preempt any announcement that may or may not take place tomorrow,” Lightfoot said.

Witzburg started working in the Office of Inspector General in 2016 and was named Deputy Inspector General for Public Safety – the office’s No. possible interests as she applied to replace Ferguson as Inspector General.

“Because the Public Safety Section of the OIG oversees and makes recommendations to City departments, including the Mayor’s Office, it is my responsibility to avoid any appearance or apprehension that the work of the Section may be influenced by my candidacy for a mayoral nomination and that his independence may therefore be impaired,” she wrote in her resignation letter.

Ferguson announced his intention to step down last July, saying he was giving Lightfoot and the city council more than 100 days’ notice to conduct a nationwide search for his successor before his term expires on Oct. 15, but that It wasn’t until September that a formal search process began. The office is currently managed by Acting Inspector General William Marback.

During his tenure as Assistant Inspector General for Public Safety, Witzburg conducted several key investigations and audits of the Chicago Police Department, including a report which found that ShotSpotter alerts rarely lead police to evidence of a genuine gun crime, one that found CPD search warrants targeted Black men more than 4.5 times more often than anyone else, and one that found the DPC was slow to make recommended changes to the crime program body camera.

She also urged the city council to approve an ordinance that would create a database of all complaints filed against Chicago police officers, but that effort was halted last May after Ferguson called an apparent compromise between Lightfoot and the City Council.

Witzburg’s planned appointment as Inspector General is to be submitted to City Council for confirmation.


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