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Ex-DEA agent to lead city agency that investigates cop misconduct

Updated: January 14, 2014 12:11PM

Mayor Rahm Emanuel has chosen a former Drug Enforcement Administration agent to lead the agency that investigates police misconduct.

Scott Ando was already working for the Independent Police Review Authority as its acting administrator. He will replace Ilana Rosenzweig, who resigned earlier this year after her husband accepted a job in Singapore.

Ando, 56, was among three finalists for the $161,000-a-year job. Their names were submitted to Emanuel by a transition team that included former police Supt. Terry Hillard; RTA board member Sarah Pang; Ald. Deborah Graham (29th); Michael Rodriguez, executive director of the nonprofit formerly known as the Little Village Development Corp., and the Rev. Michael Pfleger, an activist priest.

The mayor announced the appointment Wednesday at a City Council meeting.

In 2007, Mayor Richard Daley severed the agency then known as the Office of Professional Standards from the Chicago Police Department and made it a separate city department with its own subpoena power. He recruited Rosenzweig, an attorney from Los Angeles, to restore public confidence in investigations of police wrongdoing.

Ando joined IPRA about two years ago after retiring from the DEA. At DEA, he investigated misconduct of federal agents and served on a panel that recommended discipline. He also worked alongside Chicago Police officials in his roles as a DEA agent and supervisor.

“I have a lot of respect for the Chicago Police,” Ando said. “You can’t judge an entire department by the transgressions of a few.”

Ando, who supervises about 100 employees, said he will strive to speed up investigations and improve the agency’s community outreach efforts. He said he also may order a redesign of IPRA’s web site to provide the public with more information about the agency’s decisions and make it easier to file complaints.

“I am looking to take IPRA to a new level,” Ando said.

Emanuel said Ando is well-suited to build trust in the community and make sure “we have the best professional standards” in the police department. A national job search produced about 40 candidates for the position, officials said.

“All three final candidates were good,” Pfleger said. “We did a lot of interviewing.”

During her six-year tenure, Rosenzweig hired more investigators and started making audio recordings of police officer interviews. But she also took political fire because of investigations that dragged on for years. Police union leaders accused her of violating the police contract. Civil rights attorneys, meanwhile, complained that the percentage of sustained complaints against officers declined on her watch.

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