Excerpts – The full report is available at https://chicagopatf.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/PATF_Final_Report_4_13_16-1.pdf
“The police need to know who they work for – the community. The authority that they have belongs to the people.”1
The Police Accountability Task Force arose amidst a significant and historic public outcry. The outcry brought people into the streets, on social media and on other venues to say in a very clear voice that they had reached a breaking point with the entire local law enforcement infrastructure. People were and are demanding accountability and real and lasting change. The outcry was not localized in any particular neighborhood or demographic, although communities of color and those ravaged by crime added some of the most poignant commentary.
The Task Force immediately understood that one of our most important responsibilities was to actively seek out, listen and respond to voices from all over Chicago who had much to say about their personal and often painful experiences with the Chicago Police Department (“CPD”), the Independent Police Review Authority (“IPRA”) and other parts of the local policing infrastructure, as well as their frustrations and lack of confidence in political actors. What we have heard has been humbling. As we dug deeper into the complaints of so many about the callous and disrespectful way in which they had been treated by some officers, we also understood that we had an important duty to lay bare the systemic and sanctioned practices that led to the deaths of fellow citizens and the deprivation of the rights of so many others. We have borne witness too many hard truths which have profound and lasting impacts on the lives and hopes of individuals and communities. Our recommendations are intended to be responsive to the people, empower the people and to specifically identify a range of changes that are essential to building trust, accountability and lasting change.
As part of our work, the Task Force heard from many current and former CPD officers who are dedicated public servants, committed to performing their duties lawfully and making Chicago a safer place for all of its residents. Serving as a police officer is a challenging and often dangerous job. The police face an increasingly daunting challenge in crime fighting. Illegal guns flood the streets of the same neighborhoods that are devastated by crime, poverty and unemployment. We as a society cannot expect the police to cure every ill in Chicago’s neighborhoods. Yet we put significant pressure on them to solve and prevent crime, as well as to address the manifestations of a number of other daunting social and economic challenges beyond their charge and capacity to manage, let alone solve. Still, a keen appreciation of and sensitivity to these broader issues is critical to effective law enforcement and positive community-police relations.
The findings and recommendations in this report are not meant to disregard or undervalue the efforts of the many dedicated CPD officers who show up to work every day to serve and protect the community. . . .
The Tipping Point
On the night of October 20, 2014, the too short and very tragic life of Laquan McDonald ended when Chicago Police Officer Jason Van Dyke shot him. One of the last officers to arrive at the scene of a call about someone damaging cars, Van Dyke came out of his vehicle, gun raised and immediately fired off 16 shots. The first shot hit McDonald and he immediately fell to the ground. While he lay motionless, Van Dyke continued to unload his clip, firing 16 shots in all into McDonald’s body. All of this was captured on police videotape.
Initial reports of the shooting were superficial and false. The false narrative about the shooting originated with comments from the scene by former Fraternal Order of Police spokesperson, Pat Camden. Camden claimed to reporters that: “Officers got out of their car and began approaching McDonald, again telling him to drop the knife.” “The boy lunged at police, and one of the officers opened fire.” “[O]fficers were forced to defend themselves.” “[McDonald] is a very serious threat to the officers, and he leaves them no choice at that point but to defend themselves.” The next day CPD put out a statement that said McDonald “refused to comply with orders to drop the knife and continued to approach the officers.” Camden later acknowledged to the Washington Post that his information was “hearsay . . . basically.” “I have no idea where it came from. It was being told to me after it was told to somebody else who was told by another person, and this was two hours after the incident.” Also, other on-scene officers repeated the same false narrative. These officers uniformly said that McDonald posed an imminent threat immediately before Van Dyke shot him. . . .
IPRA referred the investigation of the shooting to the Cook County State’s Attorney in November 2014. Thereafter, by early December 2014, the case had been referred to the U.S. Attorney’s Office and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The federal grand jury investigation remains pending.
Not until thirteen months later—after a pitched legal battle doggedly pursued by local investigative journalists resulted in the court-ordered release of the dash-cam video of the shooting—did the public learn the truth: McDonald made no movements toward any officers at the time Van Dyke fired the first shot, and McDonald certainly did not lunge or otherwise make any threatening movements. The truth is that at the time Van Dyke fired the first of 16 shots, Laquan McDonald posed no immediate threat to anyone.
The civic outrage that followed gave voice to long-simmering anger not just about McDonald, but the deaths of others at the hands of the police, including Rekia Boyd, Ronald Johnson and, more recently, Quintonio LeGrier, Betty Jones and Philip Coleman. The deaths of numerous men and women of color whose lives came to an end solely because of an encounter with CPD became an important rallying cry. That outrage exposed deep and longstanding fault lines between black and Latino communities on the one hand and the police on the other arising from police shootings to be sure, but also about daily, pervasive transgressions that prevent people of all ages, races, ethnicities and gender across Chicago from having basic freedom of movement in their own neighborhoods. Stopped without justification, verbally and physically abused, and in some instances arrested, and then detained without counsel—that is what we heard about over and over again. Many of those voices came from young people who are on the front lines of daily encounters with the police whether on the streets or in schools. Far too many of our residents are at daily risk of being caught up in a cycle of policing that deprives them of their basic human rights.
McDonald’s shooting became the tipping point for long-simmering community anger. The videotape was painful, horrific and illuminating in ways that irrefutably exemplified what those in communities of color have long said, and shocked and stirred the conscience of those in other neighborhoods. The videotape itself, the initial official reaction, which but for the efforts of the journalist community likely would have relegated McDonald’s death to less than a footnote in the over 400 police-involved shootings of citizens since 2008, coupled with the 13-month delay in the release of the videotape—all underscored and exposed systemic institutional failures going back decades that can no longer be ignored. These failures manifest themselves in various ways:
- Death and Injury at the Hands of the Police
- Random but Pervasive Physical and Verbal Abuse By the Police
- Deprivation of Basic Human and Constitutional Rights
- Lack of Individual and Systemic Accountability
. . . .
The Task Force heard over and over again from a range of voices, particularly from African-Americans, that some CPD officers are racist, have no respect for the lives and experiences of people of color and approach every encounter with people of color as if the person, regardless of age, gender or circumstance, is a criminal. Some people do not feel safe in any encounter with the police. Some do not feel like they have the ability to walk in their neighborhoods or drive in their cars without being aggressively confronted by the police. The consistent theme of these deeply-held beliefs came from a significant cross-section of people: men and women, young, middle-aged and older, doctors, lawyers, teachers and other professionals, students, and everyday workers. Regardless of the demographic, people of color loudly expressed their outrage about how they are treated by the police.
These encounters leave an indelible mark. Long after the officer moves on to chase the next call or make the next stop, the citizen involved remains affected and if the encounter involved physical or verbal aggression, even if there was no arrest, there is a lasting, negative effect.
The linkage between racism and CPD did not just bubble up in the aftermath of the release of the McDonald video. Racism and maltreatment at the hands of the police have been consistent complaints from communities of color for decades. And there have been many significant flash points over the years—the killing of Fred Hampton (1960s), the Metcalfe hearings (1970s), federal court findings of a pattern and practice of discriminatory hiring (1970s), Jon Burge and his midnight crew (1970s to 1990s), widespread disorderly conduct arrests (1980s), the unconstitutional gang loitering ordinance (1990s), widespread use of investigatory stops and frisks (2000s) and other points. False arrests, coerced confessions and wrongful convictions are also a part of this history. Lives lost and countless more damaged. These events and others mark a long, sad history of death, false imprisonment, physical and verbal abuse and general discontent about police actions in neighborhoods of color.
THE ENDS JUSTIFYING THE MEANS
There are too many neighborhoods in Chicago that are devastated by crime and abject poverty. In those areas, aside from a recommitment to investments in jobs, education and many other important community anchors, those residents need the protection of the police. However, CPD’s own data and other information strongly suggests that CDP’s response to the violence is not sufficiently imbued with Constitutional policing tactics and is also comparatively void of actual procedural and restorative justice in the day-to-day encounters between the police and citizens.
CPD’s own data gives validity to the widely held belief the police have no regard for the sanctity of life when it comes to people of color.
Police Officers Shoot African-Americans at Alarming Rates: Of the 404 shootings between 2008 & 2015:
- 74% or 299 African Americans were hit or killed by police officers, as compared with
- 14% or 55 Hispanics;
- 8% or 33 Whites; and
- 0.25% Asians.
For perspective, citywide, Chicago is almost evenly split by race among whites (31.7%), blacks (32.9%) and Hispanics (28.9%).13
Police Officers Disproportionately Use Tasers against African-Americans: Of the 1,886 taser discharges by CPD between 2012 and 2015, African- Americans were the target of those discharges at a very high rate14:
- 76% or 1,435 African-Americans were shot with tasers;
- 13% or 254 Hispanics;
- 8% or 144 Whites; and
- 0.21% or 4 Asians.
Beyond the use of force with guns and tasers, CPD’s dependence on investigatory stops as an essential part of its policing strategy has only served to worsen already fractured community relations.
Traffic Stops: In 2013,
- 46% of 100,676 traffic stops involved African-Americans;
- 22% involved Hispanics;
- 27% involved Whites.15
Moreover, black and Hispanic drivers were searched approximately four times as often as white drivers, yet CPD’s own data show that contraband was found on white drivers twice as often as black and Hispanic drivers.
Other Street Stops: In the summer of 2014, CPD stopped more than 250,000 people—93.6 for every 10,000 City residents—in encounters not leading to arrests.16 (This figure dwarfs the number of stops by New York City police, which from 2011-2014, stopped anywhere between 1.6 and 22.9 people per 10,000.)
Of those 250,000 people stopped by CPD in the summer of 2014,
- 72% were African American;
- 17% were Hispanic;
- 9% were White; and
- 1% were Asian.
A 2015 survey of 1,200 Chicago residents, ages 16 and older, also found significant racial disparities in the number of police-initiated stops and the perception of abusive police behavior.17 The survey found that almost 70% of young African-American males reported being stopped by police in the past 12 months, and 56% reported being stopped on foot.
The survey found that “[m]ost people stopped by Chicago police are not ticketed, arrested or taken to a police station.” 19 In addition, the survey established “large racial disparities in the use of force reported by respondents.”20 The survey revealed that “15% of Blacks and 17% of Hispanics reported being shoved or pushed around, in contrast to 6% of Whites. [Blacks] were twice as likely as whites to be threatened by a weapon. Compared to whites, all other groups were at least twice as likely to have been subjected to some form of force before being released.”1
The overuse of investigatory stops has left a lingering, negative perception of the police in communities of color, in part because for people of color, a significant number of those stops also involved actual or threatened physical abuse.22
FAILURE TO MAKE ACCOUNTABILITY A CORE VALUE AND IMPERATIVE
Going back years, and continuing to the present day, CPD has missed opportunities to make accountability an organizational priority. Currently, neither the non-disciplinary interventions available nor the disciplinary system are functioning.
The public has lost faith in the oversight system. Every stage of investigations and discipline is plagued by serious structural and procedural flaws that make real accountability nearly impossible. The collective bargaining agreements provide an unfair advantage to officers, and the investigating agencies—IPRA and CPD’s Bureau of Internal Affairs—are under-resourced, lack true independence and are not held accountable for their work. Even where misconduct is found to have occurred, officers are frequently able to avoid meaningful consequences due to an opaque, drawn out and unscrutinized disciplinary process.
Complaints go uninvestigated. From 2011-2015, 40% of complaints filed were not investigated by IPRA or BIA.
Arbitrators reduce or void disciplinary recommendations. In 2015, arbitrators reduced disciplinary recommendations in 56.4% of cases and eliminated any discipline in 16.1% of cases. In total, arbitrators reduced or eliminated discipline in 73% of cases.
No risk management regarding lawsuits. There continues to be an unacceptably high number of lawsuits filed against the City and individual police officers every year. Despite this persistent problem, which results in the outlay of tens of millions of dollars every year, CPD does not employ a systematic tool for evaluating risk issues identified in lawsuits.
High number of CPD officers with significant CRs. The enduring issue of CPD officers acquiring a large number of Complaint Registers (“CRs”) remains a problem that must be addressed immediately. From 2007-2015, over 1,500 CPD officers acquired 10 or more CRs, 65 of whom accumulated 30 or more CRs. It is important to note that these numbers do not reflect the entire disciplinary history (e.g., pre-2007) of these officers.
Any one of these metrics in isolation is troubling, but taken together, the only conclusion that can be reached is that there is no serious embrace by CPD leadership of the need to make accountability a core value. These statistics give real credibility to the widespread perception that there is a deeply entrenched code of silence supported not just by individual officers, but by the very institution itself. The absence of accountability benefits only the problem officer and undermines officers who came into the job for the right reasons and remain dedicated to serving and protecting. Sadly, CPD collects a significant amount of data that it could readily use to address these very troubling trends. Unfortunately, there is no systemic approach to addressing these issues, data collection is siloed and individual stakeholders do virtually nothing with the data they possess. Simply put, there is no ownership of the issue within CPD leadership or elsewhere, and thus there have been no substantive efforts to address these problems which continue to cost taxpayers tens of millions of dollars each year. These figures demand immediate change.
SIGNIFICANT UNDERINVESTMENT IN HUMAN CAPITAL
The problems that the Task Force has identified have their origins in systemic failings going back many years. These failings touch:
- Recruitment of Young Officers. Chicago remains one of the most segregated cities in the country. CPD recruits from those segregated neighborhoods, but has fallen woefully short in acknowledging and addressing the fact that for many young recruits, the Training Academy may be their first substantive experience with someone who is of a different race or ethnicity.
- Training Officers To Address Conscious and Unconscious Bias in the Daily Discharge of Their Responsibilities. While CPD has made significant strides in addressing cultural literacy in the Academy’s Procedural Justice training and Crisis Intervention Team (“CIT”) training, much more needs to be done. Fundamentally, there needs to be a real commitment to Constitutional policing strategies and tactics that strike the appropriate balance between keeping our communities safe without trampling on basic Constitutional and human rights. This important value must be embedded into all training, on an annual basis. Serving and protecting cannot mean that the rights of certain communities or individuals must be sacrificed.
- Absence of Other Investments. If there is a real commitment to cultural change within CPD, the balance will shift when there are adequate resources devoted to training. Currently, aside from annual firearms certification and sporadic training sessions, there is no mandatory training on any other topic.
This means that after an officer leaves the Academy, he can serve his entire career without ever receiving any annual, mandatory training of any kind. An astounding fact, particularly in light of recent sea changes in policing strategies and technology.
What limited post-Academy training happens is primarily delivered through roll-call videos. Roll call was derisively described by one officer as “day care,” meaning that officers slept, checked their smartphones or otherwise paid little attention to what was happening. Compounding this problem is that there are no metrics used to determine the level of comprehension or retention of the topic reflected in the video training. What also seems certain is that the level of attention given to the videos is not required to be reinforced with any training materials for the roll-call commander and rarely are officers afforded an opportunity to ask follow-up questions or otherwise access FAQs or other materials to reinforce the training. Also, CPD has a large portfolio of training videos that officers can access through a web-based portal, but no effort is made to even track the number of times officers access those training videos. And in recent memory, there has been no effort to survey officers to assess the areas in which they need training.
Right now, the community has no role in any of the training done either in the Academy or thereafter. Cities across the country recognize that community involvement in training is an important element and yet another way to bridge the gap between the police and the communities they serve.
Also, service as an Academy instructor is not sufficiently valued within CPD and some instructors are teaching while under investigation for a range of alleged offenses. The Academy’s physical space is also woefully inadequate to meet current and future needs. For example, the recent mandatory Taser training is being conducted in the hallways of the Academy because there is simply no other space available. The physical structure that houses the Academy is antiquated, cramped and cannot accommodate even current needs, let alone the increased training that will be necessary to make real cultural change. The constraints of the physical space negatively impact the effectiveness of training.
The community’s lack of trust in CPD is justified. There is substantial evidence that people of color— particularly African-Americans—have had disproportionately negative experiences with the police over an extended period of time. There is also substantial evidence that these experiences continue today through significant disparate impacts associated with the use of force, foot and traffic stops and bias in the police oversight system itself.
CPD is not doing enough to combat racial bias. Policies need further clarification, as it is not clear whether and when officers may use race as a factor when initiating stops. While CPD collects a fair amount of data, little is reported to the public. CPD still has significant work to do to diversify its ranks, especially at supervisory levels. And more needs to be done to train officers to acknowledge and address their biases and deploy officers who are culturally competent and have a proper understanding of the communities they are assigned to serve.
Historically, CPD has relied on the Community Alternative Policing Strategy (“CAPS”) to fulfill its community-policing function. The CAPS brand is significantly damaged after years of neglect. Ultimately, community policing cannot be relegated to a small, underfunded program; it must be treated as a core philosophy infused throughout CPD.
CPD officers are not adequately equipped to engage with youth. The existing relationship between CPD and youth—particularly youth of color—is antagonistic, to say the least. Children in some areas of the City are not only being raised in high-crime environments, but they are also being mistreated by those who have sworn to protect and serve them.
Finally, CPD is not doing enough to protect human and civil rights. Providing arrestees access to counsel is a particular problem. In 2014, only 3 out of every 1,000 arrestees had an attorney at any point while in police custody. In 2015, that number “doubled” to 6. The City’s youth are particularly vulnerable and often lack awareness of their rights.
LEGAL OVERSIGHT & ACCOUNTABILITY
Chicago’s police accountability system is broken. The system is supposed to hold police officers accountable to the people they serve and protect by identifying potential misconduct, investigating it and, when appropriate, imposing discipline. But at every step of the way, the police oversight system is riddled with legal and practical barriers to accountability.
IPRA is badly broken. Almost since its inception, there have been questions about whether the agency performed its work fairly, competently, with rigor and independence. The answer is no. Cases go uninvestigated, the agency lacks resources and IPRA’s findings raise troubling concerns about whether it is biased in favor of police officers. Up until recently, the agency has been run by former law enforcement, who allowed leadership to reverse findings without creating any record of the changes. IPRA has lost the trust of the community, which it cannot function without.
Imposing discipline on officers guilty of misconduct has also been a challenge. Existing policies and the woefully inadequate oversight regarding how discipline is imposed have allowed far too many officers to receive little or no discipline even after a complaint is sustained. Discipline is not handed down evenly, and there are several layers in the process where discipline is often reduced.
The collective bargaining agreements between the police unions and the City have essentially turned the code of silence into official policy. The CBAs discourage reporting misconduct by requiring affidavits, prohibiting anonymous complaints and requiring that accused officers be given the complainant’s name early in the process. Once a complaint is in the system, the CBAs make it easy for officers to lie if they are so inclined —they can wait 24 hours before providing a statement after a shooting, allowing them to confer with other officers, and they can amend statements after viewing video or audio evidence. In many cases, the CBAs also require the City to ignore or even destroy evidence of misconduct after a certain number of years.
The community has long been shut out of Chicago’s police oversight system. Meaningful engagement with the community—and giving the community power in the oversight system—is critical to ensuring that officers are held accountable for misconduct.
Finally, in the current system, there is no entity to police the police oversight system itself. There is no way to know if existing entities are performing their jobs with rigor and integrity, and no entity is equipped to identify and address systemic changes regarding patterns and practices of misconduct or bias, or to analyze policies and procedures to prevent future problems. Police inspectors general—often called auditors—have emerged nationally in response to a growing belief that traditional oversight agencies would benefit from having a second set of eyes to ensure that they perform as they should.
EARLY INTERVENTION AND PERSONNEL CONCERNS
The community is rightfully skeptical that enough is being done within CPD to adequately supervise and identify officers whose actions are falling short of expectations. There is a general absence of a culture of accountability within CPD, largely because no one in top leadership has taken ownership of how to identify and handle problem officers.
CPD currently collects a variety of data on issues related to officer performance—including complaints and lawsuits—but does little to holistically analyze officer performance and intervene when troubling patterns emerge. Data collection is incomplete. Distribution, analysis and follow-up is limited.
Although supervisors have potentially-invaluable tools for managing each of the officers under their charge through a Performance Recognition System and a dashboard program, this monitoring and intervention system is not working. There are no mandatory requirements that supervisors use the system to analyze data or intervene in officer misconduct. Review of the data is entirely discretionary—or it is at least treated that way. Supervisors are not required to input information to explain the data or take any action in response to the data they receive. As a result, there is no way to know if supervisors are even using the dashboard, much less how they are using it. There do not appear to be any enforcement mechanisms to ensure supervisors use the program and, according to our interviews, the system is considered far from mandatory. In fact, our interviews with officers and supervisory personnel indicate that the dashboard has not been functional so far in 2016.
In recent years, CPD’s two formal early intervention programs—the Behavioral Intervention System (“BIS”) and Personnel Concerns (“PC”)—have rarely been used. In 2007, 276 officers were included in either BIS or PC. Participation quickly dropped off after FOP filed a grievance against CPD for certain officers’ inclusion. CPD and FOP settled the grievance by agreeing to remove officers from the programs. By 2013, zero officers were being actively managed through either of those programs. In 2014, only 7 officers were enrolled in the program. In 2015, 13 officers were enrolled.
There are many national models to design a more effective early intervention system, including systems mandated by Department of Justice consent decrees. Chicago has a lot of catching up to do. Advances in technology and data analysis allow police departments to identify officers who may be in need of interventions and to respond appropriately. It is imperative that CPD have a system in place that allows for a 360-degree view of the activity and conduct of its officers. The system should allow CPD to identify problematic behaviors at the earliest possible instance so that it can get officers back on track or, if necessary, manage them out of the department before it is too late. This is an essential component in re-establishing legitimacy with the community.
Unfortunately, there have been many examples of CPD encounters with citizens in routine situations that have gone tragically wrong. There are also widespread reports from people all over Chicago that some officers approach these same routine situations with an overaggressive and hostile demeanor, using racially charged and abusive language. It is critically important that each officer approach every encounter with a citizen with respect and a commitment to the sanctity of life.
In addition, there have increasingly been situations in which police response to calls involving persons experiencing mental health crises ended with devastating results. OEMC must be able to identify calls and encounters that are mental-health related and respond with appropriate resources.
Emergency call takers and dispatchers are a critical component of mental health crisis response, but they are ill-equipped to identify mental health calls and dispatch appropriate resources. OEMC personnel receive only one hour of annual training about crisis intervention and mental health, and their (understandable) focus on speedy dispatches often hinders accurate identification of mental health calls and the quality of response.
In 2005, following a series of highly publicized shootings of persons with mental illnesses, CPD established a CIT program to train officers on addressing individuals in mental health crises. Officers can take a 40-hour course to become CIT-certified. The CIT program has had a number of positive outcomes, but only 15% of CPD officers are CIT-certified. This is not enough to ensure that there are enough CIT- certified officers to respond to mental health calls.
Even when officers have CIT training, they have limited options to divert those living with mental illness to healthcare providers instead of jail. Currently, the only diversion option is the emergency room at various hospitals. More often, officers take individuals to Cook County Jail, which has become one of the largest mental health treatment providers in the nation. When officers do transport individuals to designated emergency room drop-offs, they often see the same person back in their beat hours or days later, with no change in their behavior. This is a poor use of manpower and resources.
Police officers are too often the first responders to those living with mental illness and experiencing a crisis. Most people living with mental illness do not receive treatment, in large part due to the shrinking mental healthcare safety net. The mental health system focuses on chronic care management for people who are living with severe, disabling mental illnesses. It does not address early intervention that might encourage recovery and avoid long-term disability. Without these less intensive, recovery-promoting services, persons living with mental illness fail to get timely treatment until their symptoms are so severe as to require costly crisis management.
On February 16, 2016, the Task Force released on an expedited basis a policy for the public release of video and audio recordings of certain critical incidents involving police officers. The Mayor immediately adopted the policy. Before the adoption of the policy, the practice in Chicago was generally to withhold from public release any video recording of a police incident until investigations, whether criminal or merely disciplinary, were concluded. The absence of a clear, written policy led to inconsistencies, confusion and mistrust on the part of the public, as well as a proliferation of expensive and time-consuming litigation conducted under the Freedom of Information Act. In many cases, it also left the public in the dark about matters of serious public interest.
Where do we go from here?
Task Force Recommendations. The Task Force’s Report contains observations and findings about a range of issues that likely have never been seen before by the public, or at least never been addressed so openly. The recommendations, if adopted, will fundamentally change the way in which the public engages with the police, create more effective oversight and auditing, and create a transparent system of accountability and responsibility for all stakeholders. We have not solved all problems, but we have created a blueprint for lasting change.
Our recommendations are designed to address the root causes of the issues facing CPD, IPRA and other stake holders.
How We Propose to Empower People.
- Create a Community Safety Oversight Board, allowing the community to have a powerful platform and role in the police oversight system.
- Implement a citywide Reconciliation Process beginning with the Superintendent publicly acknowledging CPD’s history of racial disparity and discrimination, and making a public commitment to cultural change.
- Replace CAPS with localized Community Empowerment and Engagement Districts (CEED) for each of the city’s 22 police districts, and support them accordingly. Under CEED, district Commanders and other leadership would work with local stakeholders to develop tailored community policing strategies and partnerships.
- Renew commitment to beat-based policing and expand community patrols so that officers learn about and get to know the communities they serve, and community members take an active role in partnering with the police.
- Reinvigorate community policing as a core philosophy and approach that informs actions throughout the department.
- Evaluate and improve the training officers receive with respect to youth so that they are prepared to engage in ways that are age-appropriate, trauma-informed and based in a restorative justice model.
- Require CPD and the police oversight system to be more transparent and release to the public incident-level information on arrests, traffic and investigatory stops, officer weapon use and disciplinary cases.
- Host citywide summits jointly sponsored by the Mayor and the President of the Cook County Board to develop and implement comprehensive criminal justice reform.
- Encourage the Mayor and President of the Cook County Board to work together to develop and implement programs that address socioeconomic justice and equality, housing segregation, systemic racism, poverty, education, health and safety.
- Adoption of a citywide protocol allowing arrestees to make phone calls to an attorney and/or family member(s) within one hour of arrest.
- Implementation of citywide “Know Your Rights” training for youth.
How We Propose to Address the Inadequate Emphasis on Accountability.
- Create a dedicated Inspector General for Public Safety, which would independently audit and monitor CPD and the police oversight system, including for patterns of racial bias.
- Replace the Independent Police Review Authority with a new and fully transparent and accountable Civilian Police Investigative Agency, which will enhance structural protections, powers and resources for investigating serious cases of police misconduct, even in the absence of sworn complaints. The new CPIA should ensure an accessible, professional and supportive complaint process.
- Implement a data-driven, best-in-class Early Intervention System for CPD to identify officers with problems before they become problems for the community.
- Fundamentally change provisions in the collective bargaining agreements that are impediments to accountability, such as allowing for anonymous complaints, eliminating the ability to change statements after reviewing video and removing the requirement to destroy complaint records.
- Fully implement the first-in-the-nation written video release policy for officer-involved shootings.
- Expand CPD’s body cam pilot program.
- Require that all disciplinary information be provided online so that citizens can track complaints and discipline histories.
How We Propose to Address Other Systemic and Longstanding Problems.
- Establish for the first time in Chicago a Deputy Chief of Diversity and Inclusion in CPD.
- Implement policies to dismantle the institutionalization of the police “code of silence,” including substantial changes to the collective bargaining agreements between the police and the City, ending command channel review, reforming the role of CPD supervisors and pattern and practice analysis.
- Establish a smart 911 system for OEMC, allowing residents to pre-enter information on mental health or other issues that would be instantly available to OEMC operators.
- Create a multi-layer co-responder system where mental health providers work with OEMC and CPD to link individuals to treatment.
- Expand significantly the Crisis Intervention System for CPD and other first responders.
- Create a “Mental Health Critical Response Unit” within CPD that is responsible for mental health crisis response functions, training, support, community outreach and engagement, cross-agency co- ordination and data collection.
- Create a hotline for CPD members, whether civilian or sworn, to lodge complaints, and develop a third-party system for the processing and follow-up of all comments and complaints reported to the hotline.
While we address some statistics regarding the use of force by CPD officers, in deference to the U.S. Department of Justice’s ongoing pattern and practice investigation, we did not conduct a detailed analysis of CDP’s use of force practices. But as statistics on police shooting of civilians, taser discharges and other troubling practices like shooting at cars, at the backs of fleeing suspects and the range of off-duty incidents involving weapons discharges all make plain, there must be a fundamental re-thinking of the current use-of-force policies. The Task Force heard over and over: just because you can use force, does not mean you should use force. The community must also be at the table for this conversation. The primary guiding principle of CPD’s use of force policies and practices must be sanctity of all lives.
The full list of recommendations can be found throughout the Task Force Report as well as in standalone recommendation checklists in the appendices. . . .