Policing the Police in Chicago

The Chicago Police Accountability Task Force Report candidly states without reservation that decades of racism and systemic failure in the CPD 'validates' complaints that have consistently been made by the Black community.

There are two Chicago Police Departments - Officer Kinda Friendly and the Jason Van Dyke Fraternity. It's the Van Dyke cops that historically cause the problems. Why do they persistently exist? Because they operate above the law. These cops commit the same crimes as the perpetrators they arrest but typically don't receive the same punishment. They may be stripped of police powers but they're still receiving taxpayer subsidized salaries, benefits and pensions. Change will begin when law and culture no longer protect the chronically bad cop/department.

The task force recommendations were spot on, however our Coalition gave these 15 reform recommendations to Mayor Emanuel Monday with the historical insight that Jim Crow lynchings were no longer tolerated when the courts no longer winked but began prosecuting and punishing the lynchers to the full extent of the law - in other words we can no longer afford over a half-billion dollars (monetized winking) in police misconduct settlements - these 15 reform recommendations are about raising the law above the lawmen.

1. De-certification of bad police officers - Many bad police officers must not just be fired but they must not have the ability to move to other jurisdictions and police with the same bad habits and attitudes. It is akin to moving criminal behavior from one community to another without regard for the lasting effects for the citizens where the problem now resides.
We call on state legislators to move to bar habitual police offenders at ANY level; Local, County and State by decertifying them therefore disqualifying them of policing anywhere in the State of Illinois. If an attorney has to have license to represent me in court, A dentist to have a license work and give service to my teeth, a doctor to have a license to diagnose my health, there is no reason why a police officer who carries a badge to enforce the law and a gun and taser to back that up cannot be subject to same standard of behavior.
2. Changes to the City Code - The City Code currently does not allow the Mayor to unilaterally fire police officers for misconduct. It currently leaves that process to the Chicago Police Department with many protections provided by the Collective Bargaining Agreement between the City of Chicago and the FOP.
In cases of blatant obstruction of justice and outright lying by police officers as shown in the LaQuan McDonald murder, those officers should be immediately fired by the Mayor. As the CEO of our city, the Mayor whomever he or she may be should never have their hands tied in situations such as the McDonald Murder. In this specific case the CBA also needs to be changed to give the Mayor's office final say on bad police officers.
When other city personnel do not have the luxury of a delayed process because of union protection, public safety becomes the over-arching reason to change that process to allow the mayor of the city of Chicago to protect its citizens from brazen behaviors.
3. Mental Health Concerns - This is not just a one-way dead end street that ends up with incapable police officer making snap decisions. We applaud the policing task force to place a spotlight on this issue.
However, there has to be a spotlight on the mental health concerns of police officers as it relates to the issue of public safety. Many officers are operating with a multitude of stressors. Working in high crime areas where the number of shootings and murders are higher than war zones in the Middle East.
It would be wise for CPD to consider furloughs for officers as well as random psychological evaluations of police officers as a way to reduce stressors for those working high crime areas and to help re-inforce training that has been instituted. A mentally stressed police officer is a huge matter of public safety for the city of Chicago and its residents.
4. A Merit or Demerit System - There needs to be an annual "scorecard" instituted when police misconduct occurs. It should reflect a multi-level response to the level of infractions. Summarily there should be a developed response both by the city and CPD to get ahead of potential problems with rouge police. A demerit system protects everyone from police to the city to residents.
5. The Youth - We are asking that the CPD look to build long lasting relationship with the youth by investing dollars in Police-Youth Leagues to engage our youth. Currently there is NO plan to engage with our youth only as suspects, offenders and ex-offenders. These youth only know of police officers not as people. Sports and academic leagues need to be invested in the highest crime areas to help foster elements of trust. Developing that trust demands dollars and resources.
6. Dismantle IPRA - We need the immediate disbandment of IPRA and the establishment of a truly Independent Civilian Police Review Board, one that is independent of the mayor, with subpoena powers and one whose verdict has authority. This will enhance structural protections, powers and resources for investigating serious cases of police misconduct, even in the absence of sworn complaints.
7. Beat-Based Policing - We need a major investment in beat base policing. It's vital that police officers are perceived as a guardians of the community and not seen as occupying forces. The nature of being a beat officers requires that officers have relationships with the community in order for them to be effective. (Let's come up with some specific numbers and requests.)
8. An IG of Public Safety - 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. They would also take away press and information responsibility from the FOP at crime scenes. They are not impartial to the police.
9. A Department of Diversity - Establish for the first time in Chicago a Deputy Chief of Diversity and Inclusion as well as a funded program to promote interest in the CPD to young people of color. Vested people of our community should have significant input in the selection process of this person.
10. Whistleblower Protection- Establish whistleblower protection for police officers who wish to report misconduct of others whether in the rank and file as well as in the administration. City of Chicago employees have that protection and it should be extended to police. Also any new CBA should include granting immunity to those officers who are willing to report abuse and rules violations of the police and administrators.
11. The Ability to Personally Sue for Loss - Many feel that giving citizens the ability to sue those officers who have created a loss for that family is paramount. Death, permanent injury whether mental or physical will give families a final determination regarding their loss outside what settlement the City of Chicago agrees to.
12. Citizen Mobile Phone Video in the evidentiary process- Grant citizens immunity for use of any mobile phone evidence that can be used to determine whether police abuse has occurred or not. This can be done with "cloud technology" to give protection to any who may have seen police abuse.
13. Create Social Time with the Community - It's almost impossible to break bread with a meal with anyone whom you do not like or trust. CPD should develop a social calendar strictly for community trust development purposes only. This should happen in every police district of the city of Chicago. Bar-B-ques, Carnival's, Citizen Awards Lunches or Dinners, Kiddie Fairs etc. should all be part of a social calendar to allow citizens to engage and know police personally and vice versa. Humanizing those whom you are policing can and will make it less likely for individual officers to abuse citizens.
14. Cultural Sensitivity Training - Chicago still ranks as one of the most segregated cities in America. Many officers with the rank and file may for the first time upon coming into the department may have never had a close relationship with someone of another race. This training should be ongoing and probably should be facilitated by NOBLE. (National Organization of Black Law Enforcement). This training should be part of every new training class...
15. Stop Shooting Suspects In The Back - We understand the tough job that police have in making snap judgements that could come back and potentially threaten their lives. However there have been many instances where individuals have been shot in the back, running away while being unarmed. This has to stop...

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