Draft Police Reform Plan is Unveiled in Chicago

A wide-ranging and already controversial draft of a consent decree that would govern the Chicago Police Department’s reform efforts was unveiled Friday, reports the Chicago Sun-Times. It’s a document that seeks to regulate cops tightly in their use of force and offer more transparency to the public when police are disciplined. It also would give Chicago cops more training and mental health help when they need it. The  agreement is a byproduct of a federal lawsuit brought against the city by Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan after a damning federal investigation that followed the release of the Laquan McDonald shooting video in late 2015.

The 225-page consent decree addresses virtually every aspect of policing in Chicago and the controversies engulfing it in recent years: use of force and how it’s reported; community policing; accountability and transparency; recruitment, hiring and promotions; training and supervision; officer wellness; crisis intervention and data management. The consent decree was barely public Friday when it attracted criticism from the Fraternal Order of Police, and was used as a club by the politicians running against Mayor Rahm Emanuel next year. Emanuel said that the presence of a federal judge and monitor make these reform efforts different from others that have failed before. “It is enforceable and it marks a difference because it will have a monitor and a judge who will ensure that the changes we make are lasting and go into the fabric and culture of the police department,” Emanuel said. The public will be able to comment on the proposal until Aug. 17. An independent monitor will also be appointed by U.S. District Judge Robert Dow, and applications will be accepted by the Illinois Attorney General’s office through Sept. 4.