CHICAGO — Reforms for the Chicago Police Dept have been put on paper and some are starting to be implemented. However, not everyone is happy as to what is happening regarding those reforms or what isn’t occurring.
The chairwoman of the police accountability task force says there needs to be big, bold and meaningful action in order for Chicagoans to trust CPD again. And that isn’t happening yet.
When the police accountability task force was writing its report, Lori Lightfoot said she heard very painful stories that made a lasting impact on the people who told them. She said they were stories that demand profound and lasting change within the Chicago Police Department.
Mayor Emanuel is only implementing about a quarter of the task force’s recommendations. There are more than one hundred recommendations. The task force found, what many already knew, that the Chicago Police Dept’s practices weren’t best in class, especially for the third largest city in the country.
“We should have top of the line practices in policing,” Lightfoot said.
Today the mayor sat down with police superintendent Eddie Johnson to discuss the policies that will be put in place. They include strengthening the department’s Bureau of Internal Affairs to better hold officers accountable, as in the shooting of Laquan McDonald, improving CPD training programs so officers can better understand cultural differences and expanding 911 operator training to include how to handle mental health cases. Some of the programs began before the task force report.
Two things the mayor did not agree to are hiring a public safety inspector general and disbanding the Independent Police Review Authority where 40% of cases were not investigated.
Lightfoot says IPRA is too interconnected with CPD and not at all independent.
“The data clearly suggests something is broken,” Lightfood said.
Lightfoot says the Chicago Police Department is not training its officers properly and that the people of color who live in the city, regardless of where they live, believe many of them are racist.
Lightfoot and everyone involved knows this will be a long journey.
The criticism of the mayor is already starting. 5th Ward Alderman Leslie Hairston says IPRA must be dismantled immediately and that Mayor Emanuel shouldn’t wait for the Dept Of Justice report to come out. She says IPRA has no credibility.