Today’s report from the Independent Monitor provides the City and the Chicago Police Department (CPD) with another failing grade on compliance with terms of the federal consent decree– two and a half years after the City promised to make these systemic changes to policing in Chicago. The City has failed to meet even “preliminary compliance” in nearly half of all the areas assessed in this report. To do their job of protecting the public, CPD must win back the trust of communities across the City, especially Black and Brown neighborhoods. Yet, once again, the Monitor makes clear that CPD is not meaningfully engaging the public, missing the opportunity to solicit ideas and real life experiences for policies and approaches to combating violence. This report should serve as a wake-up call for the City and lead to less rhetoric about doing better and, instead, spur the City to get to work.
The Monitor makes clear that CPD needs to move more swiftly on a policy regulating dangerous police foot chases. Despite the tragic shooting deaths of Anthony Alvarez and Adam Toledo, CPD missed a critical September deadline for a new policy restricting foot chases. As a result, an insufficient and dangerous temporary policy remains in place.
City residents also should be concerned that CPD continues to grow a series of city-wide roving units of police, units that the Monitor notes lack adequate oversight and accountability. This undermines the consent decree’s goal of reigning in abusive and unlawful policing; moving backward in this way is simply unacceptable.
In recent weeks, City officials have attempted to deflect the discussion on the critical need for police reform, often by blaming other government actors for violence in many neighborhoods across the City. The time for hyperbole and empty promises is past. It is time – more than two years after the approval of the consent decree – to be serious about making the promise of police reform a reality in Chicago.