Mayor sends deputy chief in charge of CPD academy “to the moon” in another dramatic demotion

One of the Chicago Police Department’s highest-ranking executives has been dumped to lieutenant’s rank and assigned to work in a district station — a dramatic demotion that insiders say was ordered directly by Mayor Lori Lightfoot.

Daniel Godsel oversees a protest last summer as a CPD deputy chief. | CPD

Daniel Godsel, a 29-year veteran of the department, served 13 months as deputy chief of CPD’s Training and Support Group, where his duties included overseeing the Chicago police academy. But that all ended Friday evening when he learned that he’s a lieutenant again — and he should start reporting to work at the Calumet police district on the Far South Side.

CPD spokespersons twice refused to comment on Godsel’s status over the weekend. A third inquiry after the department announced Godsel’s replacement on Monday morning went unanswered until shortly before 8 p.m. when a spokesperson confirmed Godsel’s new assignment.

In the course of the day on Friday, Godsel went from reporting to CPD’s number-two ranking officer to being one of many lieutenants working in the Calumet district.

The department refused to comment about the leadership change or why Godsel was given a so-called “hard landing.” But multiple sources said the reassignment order came directly from Lightfoot and is likely connected to her dissatisfaction with the academy and a lack of progress toward meeting the requirements of a federal consent decree.

The training division plays a crucial role as CPD works toward complying with the consent decree. Active officers must be taught new procedures and policies. Meanwhile, new curriculums have to be created for cadets.

Two sources said Lightfoot is not happy with the department’s progress in meeting consent decree requirements.

CPD officers have long derided the department’s academy as ineffectual, poorly-run, and a hotspot for sexual misconduct where veteran officers troll recruits. But those issues were well known before Godsel’s arrival in January 2020.

The academy has “been run into the ground…it’s unbelievable,” one department source said.

On Monday, CPD announced the promotion of Cmdr. Antoinette Ursitti to take Godsel’s place.

Godsel is not the first high-ranking CPD executive to get launched by Lightfoot.

Last May, the commander in charge of the department’s narcotics division was reduced to lieutenant and assigned to work the overnight shift in a police district that was 23 miles from his home.

Godsel’s new assignment will have him driving at least 15 miles from his home to the Far South Side.

Ronald Kimble’s demotion came after he stood up for his unit’s performance during a conference call that included Lightfoot and Supt. David Brown, who had recently taken over leadership of the department.

Kimble’s boss in narcotics, Deputy Chief William Bradley, was also returned to the rank of lieutenant and sent to work in a district on the Northwest Side.

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CWBChicago was created in 2013 by five residents of Wrigleyville and Boystown who had grown disheartened with inaccurate information that was being provided at local Community Policing (CAPS) meetings. Our coverage area has expanded since then to cover Lincoln Park, River North, The Loop, Uptown, and other North Side Areas. But our mission remains unchanged: To provide original public safety reporting with better context and greater detail than mainstream media outlets. Our editorial email address is news@cwbchicago.com