In December, the CTA updated its insurance policy to cover transition related surgeries for transgender employees, as required by law.

Would you ensure that every City agency and private city-contractor has a policy that covers transition related healthcare and prohibits discrimination against employees who are transgender? If yes, please explain how you would implement this legal requirement in your first year in office.


Mayoral Questionnaire
The first step is to seek an analysis from the City of Chicago Law Department on the coverage currently offered by the City itself.  Their findings would be instrumental in determining next steps, which may include working with the City Council to pass an ordinance guaranteeing the right to transition-related healthcare, issuing an executive order requiring private contractors with more than 50 employees to provide such coverage, and providing training to all agency heads about the benefit.   


Members of the LGBTQ community, especially individuals who are transgender, intersex, and gender-nonconforming, and who come from communities of color, report experiencing high incidents of violence and harassment from law enforcement, which erodes trust, and leads to a fear of law enforcement.

Will you pledge to work with the LGBTQ community to update CPD policies that would reduce violence and harassment, and increase trust between the transgender, intersex and gender-nonconforming community and the CPD? If yes, please describe the elements of an updated policy that would reduce the violence and harassment faced by the LGBTQ community.

Mayoral Questionnaire

Violence and harassment of people from any community, especially the transgender, intersex, and gender-nonconforming community, will not be tolerated in my administration, under any circumstances.  I will create a hotline and other mechanism within the Mayor’s Office for reporting directly to the Mayor’s Office the failure of CPD to address issues of violence and harassment against any community, especially for transgender, intersex, and gender-nonconforming community to ensure that all complaints are investigated and handled properly.  There will be a continuous evaluation of CPD’s progress in meeting the goals of the consent decree for community policing and other areas to reduce crime in all communications. 

I have been a long-time proponent of implicit bias training for law enforcement. Implicit (unconscious) bias is a form of prejudice that occurs when individuals make judgments at least partially influenced by gender, race or other prohibited factors without realizing they have done so, usually based on societal stereotypes or their own personal experiences.  Implicit biases can affect how police officers react in tense situations, such as encounters with rebellious or troubled youth, responding to hate crimes, or helping victims of domestic abuse. To help ensure these daily encounters remain professional, supervisors and officers must become aware of their own implicit biases through a no-fault training process.  

A no-fault training process concentrates on developing self-awareness, rather than establishing blame. Training modules should include sections on: the nature and extent of stereotyping and the application of double standards in judging different groups of people; promoting self-aware decision making; and focusing on clear behaviors rather than gut feelings, in making judgments about individuals.  As Mayor, I will ensure that implicit bias training is mandatory for all employees of the CPD, at all levels and that there is a continuous monitoring and evaluation of the success of implicit bias trainings.


Religiously-mandated restrictions – such as the Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services (ERDs) – tie the hands of health care providers at religiously-affiliated institutions by prohibiting a wide range of services, including contraception and other types of essential reproductive health care.  Patients are harmed when religious restrictions require that their health care providers deny them basic health care services or withhold full information from them.

Will you oppose the extension of TIF and other taxpayer-funded resources to expand and advance health care institutions that deny comprehensive reproductive health care services and information on the bases of religiously-mandated restrictions? 

Mayoral Questionnaire
I believe that TIF funds should be used for projects that provide a public good to a wide circle of people, such as the Transit TIF. The purpose of the district is to generate funds for the renovation of the CTA’s Red Line. The Transit TIF funds a pure public service—public transit. TIF funds are being used to modernize CTA tracks, update viaducts and embankments, creating a bypass for the Brown Line at Belmont Avenue and rehabilitate the Bryn Mawr, Berwyn, Argyle and Lawrence el stops on the CTA.  Thousands of CTA riders and the communities surrounding the el stops will benefit from this project.  
I would not favor a ban on public funding of religious institutions based on the health care services they choose to provide.  Catholic Health Care Services and other religiously-based institutions may take unpopular positions based on the principles of their faith, but that is their right under the first amendment. Also, in many cases, religious institutions are major providers of services to disadvantaged communities on the South and West Side.  However, I would require that any hospital or medical institution that opts out of providing reproductive health care services be required to supply information to customers about the availability of such services at other institutions.  


A breastfeeding parent who is not able to regularly nurse or express breast milk through pumping is likely to experience pain, discomfort, and engorgement, and may be at risk for possible infection and/or a reduction in the amount of breast milk produced.

Will your administration insure that every municipal building and office is accessible for breastfeeding parents, including a private, non-restroom space for parents who need to pump breast milk and provide staff training on the rights of breast-feeding parents?

Mayoral Questionnaire

I believe this issue highlights the disparate treatment of women in a world run mostly by men.  Child care responsibilities still fall heavily on the shoulders of mothers, especially the working moms who struggle to make ends meet.  The least that the City can do is provide a safe, secure and private area for mothers who need to pump breast milk.

As Mayor, I will require an assessment be done of each municipal building to determine where an appropriate space can be set up to accommodate mothers who pump breast milk.  This would apply to employees and customers.  The findings and recommendations would be included in the City’s capital plan and budget.      


In September, the City committed to reform the CPD by signing an agreement with the State of Illinois.

Do you support the consent decree between the City and the Illinois Attorney General designed to reform the CPD?  What three steps would you take immediately upon taking office to ensure that the decree is effectively implemented? 

Mayoral Questionnaire
1. Create a rigorous oversight and governance structure
As Mayor, I will work diligently with the federal monitor, Chicago Police Department, community leaders, alderman and others to ensure the consent decree is fully implemented.  I will create an Office of Police Department Accountability that will report directly to the Mayor.  The Office will evaluate CPD’s progress in meeting the goals of the consent decree, provide recommendations on continued professional development practices for police officers, and monitor high-profile misconduct and disciplinary cases.  
The work of the Mayor’s Office of Police Department Accountability will compliment, not supersede the work of the new Civilian Office of Police Accountability (COPA).  COPA will continue to be responsible for conducting investigations of civilian complaints, identify and address patterns of misconduct and make recommendations for addressing problematic officers.  
2. Reduce use of deadly force

The Department of Justice found numerous instances where police officers used deadly force in violation of the 4th amendment and Department Policy.  Among the violations identified were: 

  • Shooting at fleeing suspects who present no immediate threat
  • Lack of a foot pursuit policy
  • Firing at vehicles without justification
  • Officers exhibiting poor discipline in discharging weapons
  • Officers making tactical decisions that unnecessarily increase the risk of deadly encounters, including failure to await backup, use of unsound tactics in approaching vehicles, and use of dangerous vehicle maneuvers
In their analysis, the Department of Justice did not stop with the use of deadly force.  They found numerous instances in which less-lethal force was used against people who presented no threat and against children, all in violation of the 4th amendment and Department policy. This type of behavior is unacceptable. 
Most disturbing, the Department of Justice found that misconduct took place in direct contradiction to police officers’ version of events.  Using video evidence, the Department found instances of police officers hitting a person over the head with a baton, throwing a woman to the ground and tasering her, choking, hitting and slapping a man who had refused an order to leave a store area, even though the man was shopping with his family, and punching a handcuffed man. This type of behavior is unacceptable.  
Police officers are among the first responders to crisis incidents, including situations involving people with mental illness. Officers should know how to deescalate a tense situation without using force, how to restrain an individually properly and what to look for when making first assessments. Regrettably the Department of Justice found that CPD made ineffective use of crisis intervention techniques. This is unacceptable.
CPD has made progress in professionalizing training on the use of force. In 2018, CPD promised to start the Force Review Unit. Top leaders in the Department are expected to review all cases where force is used and make recommendations for improving tactics as needed. Also, CPD has implemented a 16 hour Force Mitigation course for all officers. The training includes classroom-based instruction on mental health issues as well as scenario-based exercises that reinforce lectures. Also, the Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) program is being reorganized in 2018 and is expected to become a fully functioning component of the Bureau of Patrol. In addition, the CIT training program is being overhauled to reflect current thinking on how to respond to individuals experiencing a mental health crisis.
As Mayor, I will monitor the work of the Force Review Unit, the effectiveness of the Force Mitigation course, and the successes of the CIT program closely through the Office of Police Department Accountability. The Office of Police Accountability will also monitor progress and provide continuous guidance to the Mayor’s Office on effective the use of force training and policies and procedures.
3. Make timely, accurate and complete investigations of officer misconduct
The Department of Justice found that CPD has failed to conduct meaningful investigations into officer misconduct. The weaknesses include:
  • Failing to conduct an investigation of nearly ½ of police misconduct complaints
  • Relying on pre-emptive mediation to close complaints deemed less serious
  • Ignoring mandatory investigations into uses of force that could identify misconduct or faulty training issues.
  • Failing to interview witnesses and accused officers at all or in timely manner.
  • Coaching or intimidating witnesses
  • Preparing interview questions “biased in favor of officers”
  • Ignoring physical evidence, such as the collection of DNA or GSR (gunshot residue) from alleged shooters
  • Ignoring evidence from civil and criminal proceedings.
  • Closing administrative investigations prematurely
  • Tampering with video and audio evidence
  • Intimidating complainants
These management failures are unacceptable. In response to these findings, the Civilian Office of Police Accountability (COPA) was created. Its mission is to investigate and address allegations of police misconduct, as well as identifying patterns of misconduct.
As Mayor, I will work to ensure that the investigators and staff of COPA are provided the resources they need to conduct high quality investigations into allegations of police misconduct. The work of the Mayor’s Office of Police Department Accountability will compliment, not supersede the work of COPA. COPA will continue to be responsible for conducting investigations of civilian complaints, identify and address patterns of misconduct and make recommendations for addressing problematic officers.


Are there any elements of the consent decree that you would want to change? If so, what changes would you make? 

Mayoral Questionnaire
The Civilian Office of Police Accountability (COPA) should take civilian allegations against officers seriously as a predictor of problematic officer behavior. New, promising research has established that officers who receive multiple complaints from civilians are a risk to the community and police efforts. (See Rozema, Kyle and Schanzenbach, Max, Good Cop, Bad Cop: Using Civilian Allegations to Predict Police Misconduct, Institute for Policy Research, Northwestern University, August 5, 2018)  The study shows that one to five percent of CPD officers, based on civilian complaints, have engaged in misconduct that cost the City millions of dollars in payouts. The authors concluded that removing the worst one percent of officers (120 in total) from regular civilian contact—either by reassignment or termination—and replacing them with an average officer would have saved Chicago over $6 million in payouts over the years 2009 to 2014 (not including legal fees). Money saved should be reinvested in officer well-being programs. 

Also, the time has come to revive the principles and practices of community policing. The Department Justice noted Chicago has fallen behind in this effort.  The case for community policing was laid out succinctly. In another landmark study, The Challenge of Crime in a Free Society, published in February 1967 by the President’s Commission on Law Enforcement and Administration of. The Commission diagnosed the problem between the community and police departments as follows:

“Citizen hostility toward the police is every bit as disruptive of peace and order, of course, as police indifference to or mistreatment of citizens. It is so obvious as almost to be a truism that residents will not obtain the police protection they badly want and need until policemen feel that their presence is welcome and that their problems are understood.  However, in the effort to achieve this state of affairs, the duty of taking the initiative clearly devolves on the police, both because they are organized and disciplined and because they are public servants sworn to protect every part of the community.  It is an urgent duty. Social tensions are growing and crime rates are mounting. Police agencies cannot preserve the public peace and control crime unless the public participates more fully than it now does in law enforcement. Bad community feeling does more than create tensions and engender actions against the police that in turn may embitter policemen and trigger irrational responses from them. It stimulates crime.” 

The President’s Commission noted that all police operations and administration should be guided by the principles of community relations. 

“Community relations are not exclusively a matter of special programs, but a matter that touches on all aspects of police work.  They must play a part in the selection, training, deployment, and promotion of personnel, in the execution of field procedures, in staff policymaking and planning, in the enforcement of departmental discipline, and in the handling of citizen’s complaints.” 

Lastly, the President’s Commission emphasized the role of changing attitudes among police officers as a necessary step to improving community relations, 

“Improving community relations involves not only instituting programs and changing procedures and practices, but re-examining fundamental attitudes.  The police will have to learn to listen patiently and understandingly to people who are openly critical of them or hostile to them, since those people are precisely the ones with whom relations need to be improved.” 

These principles are as valid today as they were in 1967.  As Mayor, I will work with CPD to re-engage officers and residents with the principles and practices of community policing.  In addition to community policing, I will have a complete analysis of the CPD from the top to the bottom, looking at its organizational structure, managerial techniques, number of districts, number of supervisors to patrolmen, and the investigation techniques to ensure they are using 21st century policing strategies.


If new contracts have not been negotiated by the time you enter office, what changes would you demand in a new FOP contract in order to advance the police reform process? Do you support the 14 recommendations promoted by the Coalition for Police Contracts Accountability?  

Mayoral Questionnaire

My position on each of the recommendations is indicated below

  • Eliminate the requirement of a sworn affidavit for investigating civilian complaints of misconduct. Yes, I favor elimination of the requirement.  It is burdensome and intimidating for civilians.
  • Allow for the filing and investigation of anonymous complaints.  Yes, I favor anonymous complaints. In my current role as Clerk of the Circuit Court, I accept and investigate all complaints, including anonymous complaints.
  • Prevent the disclosure of a complainant’s name prior to the interrogation of an accused officer.  No, I oppose this measure.  An officer should be afforded the same rights as any accused person, which is to know who the accuser is.  I would however, withhold information concerning the accusers address and other contact informaiton.
  • Remove the ban on offering rewards to officers that cooperate or provide information on ongoing investigations. No, I oppose lifting the ban.  Instead, I would provide continuous ethics training for officers on their duty to report wrongdoing by fellow officers to their superiors.
  • Eliminate the 24 hour delay on officer statements in shooting cases and create a clearly outlined process to receive statements from all officers involved in a timely manner.  Yes, I favor elimination of the 24 hour delay.
  • Eliminate officer’s right to review and amend statements previously made to investigators. No, I oppose elimination. During an investigation into police misconduct, an officer’s may testify multiple times, based on the stage of an investigation.  In the first stage, a trained investigator will look at an officer’s initial testimony, plus other sources of information, such as body camera footage, witness statements, and forensic data to develop a preliminary picture of an incident.  In the second stage, the investigator may need to speak to a police officer again to develop a clearer, fuller understanding of an incident.  It is not impossible that an officer may amend his or her statement, based on the questions posed by the investigator in the second stage; and once he or she views the video, because the video may refresh the officer’s recollections.  The officer’s initial and revised statements should be maintained and preserved by the investigator and used to arrive at a judgment about the facts of the case and an officer’s culpability.  All statements should be maintained and officers disciplined for statements that are found to be deliberate untrue statements. Like any employee or citizen, police officers have due process rights.  When officers provide testimony, they should have the right to counsel in meetings with Management.  In turn, Management should keep an accurate and complete record of an officer’s testimony every time the officer makes a statement.  
  • Allow past disciplinary records to be used in investigating and resolving present complaints. No, I oppose this measure.  The facts of each case should be investigated and established independently of any previous case.  However, when an officer is disciplined, the discipline should be progressive based upon prior the past discipline record.
  • Eliminate the provision requiring the destruction of police misconduct records.  Yes, I would demand this change in cases of egregious misconduct. I believe in a system of progressive discipline for employees, whether they are sworn officers or civilians.  Typically, in a progressive discipline system, there are time limits for considering past misconduct when determining the level of discipline, up to and including termination.  No time limits, however, should be imposed on keeping records of egregious misconduct. I would however, permit a time limit on the maintenance of misconduct of a non-egregious nature.
  • Eliminate the need for the Superintendent’s authorization to investigate complaints that are five years old or older. Yes, I agree with eliminating this requirement.  Complaints should be investigated regardless of how old they are, unless the officer is retired and is of no further harm to the public. Otherwise, in order to ensure that officers properly perform, investigations should be permitted to go forward regardless of how old, and the Superintendent should not have to give permission for them to go forward.
  • Remove constraints on how interrogators can ask questions.  Yes, but only if the accused officer is guaranteed legal or union representation at an interrogation.
  • Specify that information provided to officers prior to interrogations should be a general recitation of allegations. Yes, all officers should, at a minimum be given a general recitation of the allegations her or she is facing.
  • Allow for the disclosure of the identities of officers who are the subject of civilian complaints. No, I oppose this measure because officers could become the target of retaliation, and there are certain personnel laws surrounding these matters.  Instead, I would continue the practice of removing officers from active patrol and give them administrative assignments pending completion of an investigation.  However, the point in which the situation becomes a criminal case is when the officers name will become public.
  • Require officers to disclose secondary employment and any other pertinent information that may cause a conflict of interest in performing their duties as a sworn officer. Yes, I favor such disclosure.
  • Reduce years of seniority for officers who have been repeatedly recommended for suspension because of findings of complaints filed against them. No, I oppose this measure because this probably infringes upon pension laws.  Years of seniority are used to determine promotional opportunities, pay rates and pension credits for officers and civilians.  I believe that suspensions without pay, termination in cases of egregious misconduct, and referral to the State’s Attorney for possible criminal prosecution are sufficient responses.


Suspension of a person’s drivers license for unpaid tickets is currently being used as a debt collection tool. Tickets often go unpaid simply because people lack the financial resources to pay tickets on time. For these individuals, license suspensions only make matters worse.  Many Chicagoans need to drive for their jobs, and even many non-driving jobs still require employees to have a valid driver’s license.

Will you support ending the use of driver’s license suspension as a penalty for non-moving violations, including unpaid parking and compliance tickets? What concrete policy changes will you initiate or support?

Mayoral Questionnaire
One of my first initiatives as Clerk of the Circuit Court was to create a financial compliance unit, whose mission was to improve the collection of fees and fines owed to the Office.  The Unit had the responsibility for monitoring and evaluating the effectiveness of collection methods and policies and seeking new ways to collect debts. The Unit helped to devise two major collection strategies: instituting a periodic amnesty program and accepting payment plans. As a result of these initiatives, the Office saw a significant increase in collection of debts.  
As Mayor, I will ensure that Chicago has a financial compliance unit that monitors and evaluates debt payments and implements innovative mechanisms for residents to pay what is owed to the City, including periodic amnesty programs, waivers of fines based on verified hardship applications, deferred payment plans and other as determined by staff. 


Implementing “ability to pay” hearings and affordable payment plan terms would benefit low-income Chicago residents by allowing them to keep driving legally and avoid having their cars towed or booted.

Will you support creating a citywide process to determine a person’s ability to pay fines and fees, and adopting standards to ensure that payment plans for people who owe ticket debt must be affordable and accessible?

Mayoral Questionnaire

See my answer to question 8.


Chicago prides itself on being a welcoming city for immigrants, newcomers and asylum-seekers.  The current policy that the City is defending against a challenge by the Trump Administration is considered inadequate by many, since the policy allows someone to be reported to ICE if they have a prior felony conviction, a criminal warrant, a pending felony prosecution, or they are on the City’s gang database – a database that is notoriously inaccurate.

Will your administration support closing the loopholes listed above, in the Chicago Welcoming City Ordinance?

Mayoral Questionnaire

I favor removal of the requirement to report individuals who are listed in the gang database.  The database is rife with inaccuracies according to recent reports and needs to be overhauled.  It would be unfair to hold an individual for ICE based on unreliable sources of information.  I would keep the exemptions for prior recent felony convictions that occurred in the last six month.  However, I would also remove it for pending felony charges and open warrants because those individuals are innocent until proven guilty. 


Open, transparent government is a critical value in our system of government. Over the past several years, the City has refused to release material about important public policy matters, even when requested through the Freedom of Information Act process.  Such denials have led to litigation and delays in releasing information to the public. 

Will your administration commit to ensuring that city, and all of its agencies, promptly and completely respond to FOIA requests?   How will you act to implement your commitment? 

Mayoral Questionnaire

I have always been committed to transparent, open government.  As Clerk of the Circuit Court, I have instructed my legal staff to reply to requests for information, even though the Office is not covered under the Freedom of Information Act.  As Mayor, I would require every city agency to submit monthly status reports on the number and nature of FOIA requests and identify expected dates of completion.  Periodically, I would have an independent auditor conduct a compliance audit of FOIA requests and hold agency heads accountable for failing to respond to requests in a timely manner. 


As one of the most surveilled cities in the world, Chicago collects vast amounts of sensitive information about its residents every day.  The city employs an extensive, unchecked, surveillance camera system that is utilized by an unknown number of agencies, including CPD.

What specific steps would your administration take to limit and regulate the use, and how will you ensure that the public knows how these systems work, and what technology is being utilized? 

Mayoral Questionnaire
To begin, I would hire an outside auditor to conduct a thorough assessment of the surveillance policies and practices of city agencies.  The results would be published so that the public can see how they are being monitored by the City and for what purposes.  Secondly, I would establish a Task Force on Privacy and Surveillance that would make recommendations for establishing camera surveillance policies at city agencies.  The Task Force would recommend a policy on citizen review of surveillance records, appropriate time limits for preserving and maintaining surveillance records, and seek public input on the appropriate use of surveillance cameras.   The Task Force would consist of privacy experts, public safety officials, attorneys with knowledge of constitutional law, and technical experts in the field of surveillance.  


The use of facial recognition technologies by law enforcement has been criticized because those systems have been shown to be susceptible to discrimination and bias.

What steps would your administration take to limit and regulate the use of facial recognition technologies by law enforcement and private businesses?  How would your administration generally support or oppose the use of facial recognition technology in Chicago?  

Mayoral Questionnaire

I would require law enforcement and private companies doing to establish and promulgate their policies on facial recognition technology.  For City agencies, especially the Chicago Police Department, I would require an independent review to be conduct conducted of the algorithms underlying facial recognition technology and the proposed uses.  If the audit reveals disparate outcomes based on racial or ethnic characteristics, then I will eliminate the technology. 

Technology, predictive analytic programs, and social media data mining help to take the guess work and subjectivity out of policing. Over the last few years, CPD has invested in body cameras, gunshot detection systems and mobile phones for officers to help solve crimes and ensure constitutional rights are protected. As a result, crime has gone down in areas where technology has been used skillfully and effectively. I believe that CPD should continue to invest in these and other state-of-the art technology to fight crime and ensure public safety.  As Mayor, I will work with CPD to make sure the technology is up-to-date, effective and non-discriminatory. 


Do you believe in using civilian oversight to ensure transparency and accountability for police practices, including the use of automated and surveillance technologies for law enforcement decision-making? How would you incorporate civilian oversight and ensure transparency in CPD’s use of automated and surveillance technology?

Mayoral Questionnaire
I believe in the power of predictive crime software and social media data mining for monitoring and predicting crime.   Predictive analytic tools look at large volumes of data to find possible patterns of illegal or criminal activity and behavior.  By forecasting where crime might occur, predictive analytical programs help CPD manage and deploy resources.  When CPD has employed predictive analytical technology, the crime rate has gone down. 
The objectives of social media data mining are to gain tips on crime and gather intelligence.  There are some types of posts that should automatically flag the attention of CPD, such as posts about crimes in progress, live videos of crimes in progress and other posts left by criminals. Also, other online activities, including the use of certain phrases, can suggest that dangerous or criminal activity may occur. These activities are legitimate subjects for police surveillance. 
I support the use of social media data mining to help fight and prevent crime.  However, to ensure that CPD respects privacy and does not stigmatize entire communities through profiling, I will establish a Task Force on Electronic Privacy and Surveillance.  The Task Force will work with law enforcement to establish standards on what data is collected, how and what the data is used for, and monitor whether algorithms are accurately and rigorously tested to meet specific crime prevention needs.  The public will be made fully aware of the various technologies being utilized.