Now, our Aurora, Illinois, Police Chief, Kristen Ziman will tell you she’s official retiring on August 6, but nothing could be further from the truth. Though I’m a bit surprised because I thought their mutual shenanigans had joined them at the hip, make no mistake, Mayor Ricard Irvin forced her out.
If it wasn’t for undermining an FBI investigation in an effort to forestall her firing, Ziman’s “departure” would’ve come a lot sooner, too. It’s no secret that Ziman has been applying for just about every job but mine for the last few years, but with no takers, Mayor Richard Irvin decided to hold the door for her on the way out.
According to a number of sources, the reason for this “firing” are thus:
- Having been appointed by the late Mayor, Ziman was Tom Weisner loyalist which never sat well with Irvin. To say there was no lost love between the two Mayors would be a lot like saying that Agent Orange fully accepts his electoral loss.
- Ivin promised his cronies he’d get rid of her and appoint a black chief during his first mayoral campaign.
- Ziman was essentially becoming an absentee chief.
- Her failure to take personal responsibility for her failures led to a vast lack of rank-and-file respect and she knew the damage couldn’t be repaired.
As far as the first issue goes, that’s the joy of taking a public sector job. Your employment is only as secure as the mayor’s/chairman’s/governor’s reelections chances. With Weisner’s untimely death and hand-picked successor Rick Guzman proving he wasn’t a politician, the handwriting was on the wall.
While number two is certainly true, Irvin isn’t going to gain or lose much politically by this move. Those same source told me that, though the City will go through the lengthy candidate vetting process motions, Deputy Chief Keith Cross already has the job.
The best evidence of number three was a well-founded Department rumor that Ziman and her wife didn’t actually have COVID as they announced. They simply wanted the time off. Much like that plethora of job applications, avoiding the office was yet another indication that her heart was no longer in the job.
The last concern wasn’t as much a public one as it was a problem among the people who once supported the Chief – myself included. She puts up a great front and almost always says the right things, but when the going gets tough she wilts and becomes even more prone to making excuses. The best example of this was letting her wife take the heat after she left her weapon in a North Aurora restaurant bathroom.
That doesn’t mean I don’t think she did a reasonable job, because she did. But it’s the kind of scenario where you can’t help but ruminate on what might’ve been. There’s a reason almost every Shakespeare play deals with a tragic fall incited downfall.
As for Deputy Chief Cross, I wouldn’t take the APD – or any – police chief job right now, even if you offered me a seven-figure salary.
Considering the blitheringly stupid “defund” and “abolish” the police progressive movement, it’s never been more difficult to be an officer. There’s good reason the Elgin Police Department is hemorrhaging command staff and patrol officers at a record rate right now.
Though I understand why the political pendulum has swung so far to the left here, but that basic understanding doesn’t change the fact that no one in their right mind would want to don the blue uniform right now.
Even though Cross won’t be Aurora’s first black police chief (William Powell 2005-2008), the wildly varying demands and expectations of a black chief in 2021 – particularly from the Mayor and the black community, will make the job even more difficult than being the apologist for the national Republican Party.
And anyone who would willing accept that role should be disqualified by virtue of mental defect. Put more simply, I hope the Deputy Chief isn’t prone to stomach ulcers.
But as fascinating as engaging in this kind of socio-political analysis can be, the truth is, regardless of who the new police chief turns out to be, nothing will change for the average Auroran. And I suppose there’s a certain solace in that