On Wednesday, when the appointment of Interim Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson to a permanent position is expected to advance to the full Council, Ald. Leslie Hairston (5) is expected to introduce an ordinance calling for the abolition of the Independent Police Review Authority, the city agency in charge of investigating cases of police misconduct, and Ald. Jason Ervin (28) is slated to introduce an ordinance calling for a new police oversight office within the Chicago Office of the Inspector General.
IPRA would be replaced with a new agency and staff, the Independent Citizen Police Monitor. That new organization would have have a significant amount of power compared to IPRA. Specifically, it would amend how IPRA conducts its investigations by opening up police and misconduct data to the public, widening the scope of the Chief Administrator’s powers, and speeding up the release of information and the conclusion of investigations.
The proposed ordinance borrows from cities that have undergone recent police reforms, such as New Orleans, Newark, Seattle, Cleveland, and Albuquerque. The Monitor’s office would maintain at least one full-time investigator for every 100 sworn officers in the department. CPD has more than 12,000 sworn members, as of its 2010 annual report, but allocated for about 13,800 full time employees in its 2016 budget proposal.
Ald. Jason Ervin’s (28) ordinance was informed, in large part, by a draft ordinancefrom the Community Renewal Society (CRS) first touted in December 2015, shortly after the video of Laquan McDonald’s shooting was released. The ordinance creates a “Police Functions Office” within the Inspector General’s office, currently headed by Joe Ferguson.
The Deputy Inspector General for Police Functions would be appointed by a five-member selection committee chosen by the IG. The Deputy IG has 20 listed powers to review, audit, collect, analyze, propose recommendations, and investigate any police-related matters under IPRA, Police Board, or CPD’s Internal Affairs Bureau. Several off-limits areas would also be open to public inspection, including reports on use of body cameras, contact cards, citizen complaints, and misconduct investigations, which would all be published on the OIG’s website.
Similar to Hairston’s ordinance, the office would be funded by a portion of the Police Department’s $1.45 billion appropriation – no less than one percent, or approximately $14.6 million. There would be one full-time employee for every 250 sworn officers in the department. Ervin plans to hold a press conference on the ordinance tomorrow morning before the full City Council meets.
The mayor’s Police Accountability Task Force (PATF) is also expected to release its recommendations on April 15, including on de-escalation, community and police relations, early intervention and personnel, and legal oversight and accountability. Aldermen will be briefed on those findings Wednesday afternoon.