Mayor Emanuel's plan to “transform” Chicago’s system of policing lacks the teeth necessary to actually get the job done. On August 30th, the Mayor released his proposal for a police accountability ordinance that would establish an agency replacing the Independent Police Review Authority (IPRA) and create a Deputy Inspector General for Public Safety to audit the entire police accountability system. Mayor Emanuel’s Deputy Inspector General for Public Safety would be little more than a data analyst with limited resources and no power to enforce reforms.
We have been fighting for over two years to win meaningful reform to policing and police oversight in Chicago. Our FAIR COPS Ordinance, which was introduced to the City Council in April, would establish a Deputy Inspector General with the power to audit and reform all three of the existing city agencies in Chicago responsible for policing and police oversight.
While we are pleased to see the Mayor follow FAIR COPS’ lead in creating an auditor of Chicago’s police accountability system, we are beyond disappointed by his choice to ignore key elements that would give the Deputy Inspector General real power for reform.
The Mayor’s ordinance, in its current form, is an insult to our communities as it lacks the key elements that were clearly laid out by his own Task Force, by CRS, and by numerous other community organizations.
The Mayor's police accountability ordinance cannot be taken as a serious plan for reform unless it makes the following provisions for the Deputy Inspector General’s office:
- a mechanism for enforcing the auditor's recommendations for reform;
- an adequate and guaranteed budget;
- a selection process that is independent of the Mayor and, if an outside entity is involved, relies on an organization with expertise in police accountability; and
- transparent reporting, which must include posting public reports on the city’s website for a minimum of 10 years.
We cannot stand by while Mayor Emanuel pushes through yet another watered-down ordinance that clearly prioritizes the consolidation of his own power over the needs of our communities. When the City Council meets to review and vote on the future of police accountability in Chicago they must reject the Mayor's proposal. Instead, the City Council should create a police auditor with real power to reform and hold accountable all of the agencies in the city responsible for policing and police oversight.
Join us this Wednesday, September 14th as we call our aldermen to give the Mayor’s proposal the teeth it needs to actually establish the accountability and transparency our communities so desperately need.
Now is the time to take action and tell City Council we will not settle for the Mayor’s toothless proposal!
For more information, contact: Ciera Walker, firstname.lastname@example.org