This report is one of many recent reports showing ongoing racial disparities in encounters between police and members of the general public in Illinois. The lack of data collection is a major impediment to understanding how stop and frisk policy is actually carried out on the streets. Several improvements need to be made to provide greater transparency and make it possible for supervisors to fully review stops and frisks.
a. Expand the Illinois Traffic Stop Statistical Study Act to cover sidewalk stops and frisks. The Study Act requires police departments to collect and publicly report data about traffic stops.(30) This critical law, which was sponsored in 2003 by then-State Senator Barack Obama, should be expanded to collect data on pedestrian stops and frisks and make the data public. Expanding the Study Act would solve several problems: (1) Chicago and other cities across Illinois currently do not maintain a comprehensive public record of Terry stops; (2) Chicago and other Illinois cities have no record of frisks—including the basis for the frisk or whether contraband was obtained; and (3) Chicago, unlike several other major cities, does not make regular public disclosures about stops and frisks. Data collection is a critical supervisory tool and necessary for the transparency needed to build public trust.
b. Require all police to issue a receipt (or other documentation) to all civilians they interact with, including during traffic stops, sidewalk stops, and consensual encounters. This receipt should state the officer’s name, the time and place of the encounter, and the reason for the encounter. Such receipts will facilitate any civilian complaints regarding the encounter.
c. Require training on the legal requirements for a stop and frisk and how to properly document them. In a response to a recent FOIA request to Chicago, the City was not able to identify a single officer who received follow-up training (post-police academy) on how to lawfully conduct a stop and frisk since May 2011. FOIAs on this issue to other cities in Illinois are pending.
(30) Illinois Public Act 98-0686 (Ill. 2014). The ACLU of Illinois recently published a report about the CPD’s traffic stops, based on Study Act data, which showed racial disparities similar to those documented in this report on CPD sidewalk stops. See CPD Traffic Stops and Resulting Searches in 2013, ACLU OF ILLINOIS (Dec. 26 2014), http://www.aclu-il.org/cpd-traffic-stops-and-resulting-searches-in-2013/.