Aldermen are in for likely another lengthy subject matter hearing today, as they consider Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s ordinance establishing the Civilian Office of Police Accountability (COPA) and a new Public Safety Deputy position within the Chicago Office of the Inspector General (OIG). The main bones of contention: COPA’s budget, whether it or the new auditor could hire outside counsel, and how much power the mayor would have over appointing leadership positions. Council is expected to vote on the measure at a special meeting on September 29.
Public Safety Chairman Ariel Reboyras (30) confirmed that no vote will be taken at today’s meeting, only testimony and debate. He also said that two expert witnesses will be flown in to testify: Philip K. Eure, the Inspector General for the New York City Police Department, and Walter Katz, the Independent Auditor for the San Jose, California Police Department. Both have ties with the National Association for Civilian Oversight of Law Enforcement (NACOLE), a non-profit national organization based in Maryland that’s focused on improving police oversight.
Corporation Counsel Steve Patton and Katie Hill, an attorney with the city’s Law Department, are also scheduled to testify, along with IPRA Chief Administrator Sharon Fairley, Police Board President Lori Lightfoot, and Adam Gross with BPI (Business and Professional People for the Public Interest).