Following the death of Tyre Nichols in Memphis, there’s a new focus on progress when it comes to police reform across the country.

How’s Chicago doing?

According to the ACLU, a new report suggests things are moving slowly.

“As of the Sixth Independent Monitoring Report released in December 2022:
CPD and the other agencies subject to the Consent Decree (such as COPA and the Police Board) were in full operational compliance with only 5% of the paragraphs of the consent decree.  They made no progress toward full compliance since the last reporting period.    
CPD has achieved zero full compliance with consent decree paragraphs regarding CPD’s responsibilities for Crisis Intervention and the Chicago Council on Mental Health Equity.

CPD was in preliminary compliance with 78% of consent decree requirements.  Preliminary compliance means that CPD has created a policy but hasn’t trained officers or held them accountable for following the policy. This indicates very little progress since the previous monitoring report, where CPD was in 70% preliminary compliance.

The report also found that CPD made zero progress on its recruitment, hiring and staffing requirements and went backwards in many areas due to its refusal to staff crucial reform areas. 
CPD has not produced a staffing plan to help determine the most effective and efficient allocation of police resources and to ensure proper supervision of officers.
The Tactical Review and Evaluation Division (TRED), which reviews officers’ uses of force against community members, is acutely short-staffed and has an increasing backlog of nearly 1,000 firearm pointing incidents to review.  CPD pulls officers from TRED, Audit, Constitutional Policing, Training, and other key divisions for other purposes and puts them out on patrol, preventing them from fulling their consent decree functions.
CPD has made essentially no progress in analyzing its data collection and reporting capabilities and needs, nor in providing transparent public reports about major policing issues.
At a public hearing in November 2022, numerous community members spoke of continued abuse, terror and disrespect at the hands of Chicago police officers, and of their immense frustration that the promise of the consent decree has not been fulfilled.
According to the Office of the Inspector General, the City of Chicago spent over $250 million in settlements and judgments arising from police wrongdoing between 2017 and 2020. That’s about $62.5 million per year.

WGN reached out to Chicago Police Department for a response to the report released by the ACLU.

“The Chicago Police Department has been, and remains, committed to continuous improvement through reform. We have enhanced our efforts to implement practices and policies that support our officers and strengthen trust within the communities we serve. This is clear in the 78.4% of consent decree paragraphs in which compliance has been achieved, up from 11% during the first Independent Monitoring Report period in 2019. We have also achieved more paragraphs deemed as having some level of compliance than any other city under a consent decree at the three-year mark.
The Department has also worked to enhance training and now requires 40 hours of mandatory annual in-service training for officers, up from 16 hours in 2018. Topics such as use of force, de-escalation, gender-based violence and crisis intervention were covered in this training in 2022, which 95% of sworn members have completed.
We have made significant progress since the implementation of the consent decree, and we have not slowed down as we build on the foundation that has been set.”