Police union contract talks continue, as do calls from more civilian oversight

CHICAGO — The Chicago police union contract was up July of last year. Negotiations have been slow and it comes in the midst of a mayor race with lots of contenders. It also comes as there are growing calls for more civilian participation in police oversight.

There was a community hearing last week on efforts to create more police accountability that devolved into a shouting match.

Monday at the City Club of Chicago, aldermen and the head of the Fraternal Order of Police tried again to reach a consensus on what it should look like.

“We want police accountability, we want civilian oversight, but it has to be in the right manner,” said Alderman Ariel Reboyras.

FOP President Kevin Graham says there is plenty of oversight on the Chicago Police Dept and spending more money is not the answer.

“They’re trying to put in another layer of government and quite frankly I don’t think it`s advised for the city of Chicago,” Graham said. “If someone doesn’t believe that they can go to the police department or COPA, they can go to internal affairs, they can go the police department brass, you can always go to CCSA, state police, you can go to the attorney general’s office.”

He flatly denies there is a “code of silence” among police.

“If you or someone else knows that some other policemen is covering up for another policeman, report it,” he said.

But Mecole Jordan with the grassroots Alliance for Police Accountability says there is a level of protect afforded to police officers that is not given to community residents.

“And that is a double standard because those who are trained to do a job should actually be held to a higher standard of being a law-abiding citizen.” Jordan said.