Victory! CRS reaches a settlement for our Chicago lawsuit

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Last weekend not only marked the official transition of a new Chicago administration, but also a significant success for CRS. On Friday, May 17, we officially settled our lawsuit with the City of Chicago.

In August of 2017, CRS, alongside Communities United, One Northside, Next Steps, Equity for Equality and the ACLU of Illinois, launched a lawsuit against the City of Chicago. That lawsuit heavily impacted the formation of our new Chicago Police Consent Decree. With this settlement, CRS will have a significant future impact on crisis intervention and diversion practices of the Chicago Police Department. CRS now sits at two tables critical to the implementation of Police Accountability in Chicago. This is a victory!

Table one: the City of Chicago is working with several other organizations and the University of Chicago on a project called Mental Health Emergency Alternative Response Treatment Project. mHeart proactively identifies people who require a direct service, based on their history. The idea is to refer them to a service before 911 or the police are contacted to prevent an adverse event from ever occurring. The program is currently under HIPAA and FERPA protection in its trial setting, but eventually will move entirely to the City. When this happens, the program will require oversight and sustained accountability measures.

Table two: the City has a newly formed Crisis Intervention Advisory Committee composed of over 20 city and county government agencies and organizations. This committee includes the Mayor's office, CPD, Cook County Sheriff's Office, mental health providers and community organizations (although too few). The Committee will direct diversion, redirection and other service-oriented processes related to how law enforcement engages citizens, particularly during moments of crisis. CRS comes into this space to provide insight, voice and decision-making power for people of color and persons with disabilities from our congregations and communities.

These two critical tables at which CRS sits, require consistent work and committed leaders. In addition, as the work on the Consent Decree moves into the implementation phase, we will need even more of you from our congregations and communities to serve. Are you interested in learning more about policing, the Consent Decree, and how you can be involved? If so, email either me or Director of Organizing Drea Hall.