While the announcement that former Dallas Police Chief David Brown has been chosen to be Chicago’s next police superintendent is certainly big news, there’s been another important personnel change at CPD this week.
The departure of a police commander is not something we usually report on, but when the commander is Cindy Sam — the ineffectual head of the department’s Mass Transit Unit — we can’t help but spread the news.
Violent crime on the city’s transit system rose sharply in recent years while Sam publicly insisted that the problem was not crime but the public’s “perception.”
Of course, Chicago’s other 2.5 million residents knew the truth: the problem was crime, not perception. Violent crime on CTA trains and platforms increased 104% in the five years since 2015.
CWBChicago publicly called for Sam to be replaced in February.
Then, when the city finally began to take serious action against CTA crime last month, two members of the Mass Transit Unit infamously struggled with and shot an unarmed man at the Grand Red Line station.
Now, finally, Sam is out. Retiring, the department says. Sources within the department say she hasn’t been seen much since the shooting.
Matt Cline, a tactical lieutenant in CPD’s public transportation section, was promoted to replace her on Wednesday, a department spokesperson said.
Cline is the son of former Chicago Police Supt. Phil Cline, who resigned amid controversy in 2007.
Matt Cline is taking charge of the city’s mass transit operations as CTA ridership has dropped almost 80% during the COVID-19 crisis.