The Department of Justice investigation into the practices of the Chicago Police Department has been released, and the conclusion is that the department is in need of major reform. Action Now believes that it is imperative to stop negotiations on the new police contract until the City and the federal government introduce the framework around how reform will be implemented.
We have engaged in multiple conversations with city residents on police reform, with many concluding that the FOP contract is a critical starting point for improving community policing. The current contract makes it too hard to identify police misconduct by allowing practices such as requiring investigators to ignore and destroy evidence, requiring affidavits to investigate misconduct and limiting the investigation of anonymous complaints against officers. The DOJ uncovered a pattern of disturbing practices in Chicago that includes excessive uses of force, the need for de-escalation tactics taught in officer training, a critical lack of oversight of rogue officers, and a glaring deficit in investigating cases of misconduct. These issues can and should be addressed through the negotiation of the union contract.
“The FOP contract could present significant barriers to the reform measures agreed upon by the city and the federal government. The city council must consider delaying the negotiations until the consent decree process is complete”, said Katelyn Johnson, Executive Director of Action Now.
Any negotiations regarding the new FOP contract must cease until there is not only clarity on the federally mandated reforms that can be overseen by an independent monitor, but also robust input on the changes the people in our communities want to see. The top down approach to community policing is a part of the problem, and it is about time that the voices of the people are heard in this ongoing fight for accountability.