Joint Consent Decree Comments
Cabrini Green Legal Aid, Chicago Appleseed Chicago CRED, Chicago Urban League, Illinois Justice Project, North Lawndale Employment Network, Safer Foundation
August 17, 2018
In response to the Proposed Consent Decree (“Consent Decree”) released for public comment on July 27, 2018, the undersigned organizations (Cabrini Green Legal Aid, Chicago Appleseed Chicago CRED, Chicago Urban League, Illinois Justice Project, North Lawndale Employment Network, Safer Foundation) respectfully submit these comments and recommendations.
The signatories below commend the commitment the Consent Decree makes to increase accountability and transparency through meaningful community involvement. They recognize as foundational to the success of its implementation are Guiding Principles that state “[s]trong community partnerships…. increase public confidence in law enforcement” and that community policing can “build and promote public trust and confidence in CPD.”
The undersigned also appreciate the important role played by the organizations whose representatives were part of the negotiations of the proposed decree and are heartened by the provision in the draft for their continued involvement during implementation. There is, however, a need for access to the implementation process by any individual or group in the community who has interest in police accountability; these comments reflect ways to meet that need. Rigorous community involvement will create trust between police and community, which is essential to public safety.
Understandably, the Consent Decree is in large part aspirational; it identifies shared goals and contemplates many changes in the Chicago Police Department (CPD) policy and practice. In some substantive areas, the Consent Decree appropriately obligates CPD to share with the community how it contemplates making changes and mandating cooperation between CPD and the community to refine CPD’s plans. It is crucial that, with respect to each and every area of change, the Consent Decree include not only obligations on CPD to share with the community how it contemplates making changes, but the obligations to “solicit, consider and respond to input, feedback and recommendations from the community in each district” as the Consent Decree imposes with respect to Community Policing (sec. 42).
Establishing consistent standards for communication between CPD and the community will provide CPD with the widest exposure to best practices in community policing and other areas of change as well as grant transparency that builds trust between CPD and the community. This is especially important during the period when CPD translates those changes called for in the Consent Decree from aspirations to actions.
Additionally, modifications should be made to provide for still more transparency in the framework for achieving required changes, particularly in the areas of community policing; impartial policing; accountability and transparency; and data collection, analysis, and management. The Consent Decree can go further in articulating how Chicago’s communities will play an active role in refining CPD’s plans in other critically important substantive areas. To that end, the undersigned organizations propose, and respectfully urge the adoption of, the following changes to the Consent Decree:
● Apply the same obligations on the same timetable that are applied to Community Policing to CPD’s obligations regarding Impartial Policing to “develop and implement a policy guiding officers’ interactions with members of religious communities,” and to “review and, as necessary, revise its policies guiding CPD members’ interactions with transgender, intersex, and gender non-conforming individuals” (sec. 55, 56)
● Mandate community involvement in the manner specified for Community Policing (section 42) to the adoption of new policies prohibiting sexual misconduct by CPD members, and the revision of other identified policies in sections 58-64, 67, 68, 70, and 71.
● Require CPD to share its proposed methodology for assessing misdemeanor arrests and notices of violations with the community, not only with the Monitor. (sec. 71 & 72)
Use of Force and related Data Collection, Review, and Auditing
● Permit community review and comment on the proposed supplemental foot pursuit training bulletin (sec. 160)
● Disclose the Monitor’s assessment of related data to the community and permit the community to review and comment on any foot pursuit policy adopted by CPD (sec. 162)
● Permit community review and comment on body-worn cameras (sec. 218)
● Disclose to the community and provide the opportunity for comment regarding the changes in what data CPD should keep. (sec. 109, 545)
● Extend to the community the same opportunities to review and comment that are provided to the Monitor and OAG. (sec. 550)
● Assure that Early Intervention System (EIS) policies adopted or revised by CPD are made available for community review and comment
● Provide the opportunity for the community to review and comment on the Training Plan CPD develops. Community members and stakeholders should be informed, and their comments heard on these CPD changes as well. (sec 251 & 252)
Investigations, Findings, and Recommendations
● Assure that the community may review and comment on the policies CPD and COPA adopt included in sections 457-59, 474, and 519.
● Make available for community review and comment the quarterly recommendations made to the Superintendent for changes in CPD policies, and publish the Superintendent’s response. (sec. 542)
Selection and Compensation of the Monitor
● Specify, release and accept comments on a public process for identifying those “engaged community stakeholders” who will be invited to participate in interviews of Monitor candidates. (sec. 591)
● Compel Parties to publish a proposed list of those who are invited for interviews and consider comments by the community on the proposed list. (sec. 591)
● Require the Parties to publicly identify the individual they intend to recommend to the Court as Monitor and the monitoring team, including a justification for their selection, and allow community review and comment. (sec. 591)
● If the Parties are unable to agree on a Monitor, permit community submissions to Court in addition to those by the Parties. (sec. 593)
● At least annually, allow written feedback on the Monitor from the community and specify that, if the Court convenes the Parties and Monitor, such proceeding shall be open to the public and the community be given an opportunity to be heard. (sec. 599)
Review of CPD Policies and Procedures
● Require that all policies and procedures CPD submits to the Monitor and OAG for review and comment be simultaneously published for community review, comment and objections. (secs. 604-07)
● Permit the community to be heard by the Court directly or, if the Court deems it appropriate, though the appointment of a Special Master. (sec. 607)
Review of Implementation Plans and Training Materials
To assure the opportunity contemplated in sec. 610 for CPD to provide meaningful public review and comment, the Consent Decree should be modified to:
● Require that CPD publish the CPD plans identified there and permit community review and comment to the Monitor and the Parties. (sec. 615)
● Provide that any adjustments to plans be published for community review and comment. (sec. 616)
● Permit the community the same opportunities provided to the Monitor and OAG to review and object to the CPD plan. (sec. 617)
● Permit the community the same opportunities provided to the Monitor and OAG to review and comment on all new or revised curricula, lesson plans, and course materials related to CPD training. (sec. 618)
Compliance Reviews and Audits
● Require the Monitor to publish for community review and comment any audit or other reviews the Monitor performs. (sec. 620)
Monitoring Plan and Review Methodology
● Require the Monitor to publish the Monitoring Plan and permit community review and comment. (sec. 629)
● Require the Monitor to publish for community review and comment on any proposed methodology for compliance review or audit that the Monitor submits to the Parties. (sec. 632)
● Require the Monitor to publish for community review and comment on any recommended modification of this Agreement. (sec. 636)
● Require the Monitor to publish and permit community review and comment on the semiannual reports. (sec. 640)
Communication Among the Monitor, the Parties, and the Public
● Require the Monitor to provide the public with notice and opportunity to attend all meetings held at least quarterly with the Coalition, to the extent not otherwise required by law. (sec. 646)
The undersigned believe these recommendations would further the existing commitment in the Consent Decree to increased transparency and accountability and to using increased transparency and accountability as a tool to foster trust in the CPD. Some of those stakeholders also have submitted other, more specific comments separately.