The Chicago Tribune editorialized this morning in favor of a just-passed ordinance requiring Chicago's police board to publish their decisions, including findings and explanations of their decisions (or dissents) online. The Chicago police board is responsible for, amongst other duties, hearing and making final decisions on disciplinary actions for police officers which result in longer suspensions or removal from the police force. Download a copy of the new ordinance (pdf).
The ACLU of Illinois, as a member of the Chicago Coalition for Police Accountability, has actively advocated for this ordinance for the past three years because it will create greater public trust in the legitimacy of the police board by providing more complete and timely information to the public about the police disciplinary process. The Tribune writes:
Ald. Robert Fioretti's proposal would require the police board to post its decisions online, along with explanations from those voting both for and against. We can't think of a single good reason not to provide that information.
We're not talking about a public airing of every complaint against every officer; even the best cops are the target of an occasional crank. Cases heard by the police board must make their way through the Internal Affairs Division or the Independent Police Review Authority before the superintendent's review and recommendation. Whether it agrees or disagrees with those conclusions, the board ought to explain why. The public deserves to know. So do rank and file officers.