Highest-ranking Black cop, former West Side commander to retire

West started her career in Austin's 15th District before becoming its first female commander

October 2nd, 2020 12:54 PM

Barbara West, who worked her way up through the ranks in the 15th District become its first female commander before leading the 11th District three years later is retiring the highest-ranking Black police officer in CPD's history. | File

By Michael Romain


Deputy Superintendent Barbara West, who made history earlier this year as the highest-ranking Black woman in Chicago Police Department history, has announced that she plans to retire from the department after 26 years of service.  

West served as commander in the West Side's Harrison 11th and Austin 15th districts before she was promoted to her current position in order to help the department comply with a federal consent decree. 

In a statement released on Sept. 30, CPD Superintendent David O. Brown lauded West's leadership.  

"Chicago born and bred, Deputy Superintendent West brought a wealth of operational and organizational experience to the newly created Office of Constitutional Policing and Reform," Brown said. "Under her leadership, our Department has made significant strides toward implementing meaningful and sustainable reform, and helped establish the framework that will cary our vision for reform into the future."  

In 2012, West was appointed the first female commander of the 15th District before she was reappointed to the 11th District in 2015.  

West started her career in Austin's 15th as a rookie cop patrolling Beat 1523, according to a previous Austin Weekly News report.  

West could not be immediately reached for comment on Oct. 2. 

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