Over the past several months, the mayor and the city council have publicly asked for input, holding town-hall meetings with the understanding that the people of Chicago will have a voice and be a part of the process of reforming the Chicago Police Department. What has transpired instead is an oversight mechanism that does not reflect the preferences of the communities it serves. The COPA agency does not have a community appointed board that has investigative powers over police misconduct, nor does it allow for community members to select the head of the agency, but instead leaves that power under the control of the mayor.
“What the community asked for was real, progressive reform of the accountability process for police misconduct, but the COPA ordinance is just more of the same concerns that we had under IPRA. The mayor and the city council are ignoring the voices of the people, and that is a serious problem”, said Katelyn Johnson, Executive Director of Action Now.
We are only in favor of an agency that is independent from the mayor’s office, with robust review from community members, whether that be through an elected community board or an elected independent auditor. Despite the passing of the ordinance, we will continue to demand real reform of the police department, with collaboration and oversight from multiple stakeholders and our communities.