Step Closer to CPD Transparency

Lawndale News Chicago's Bilingual Newspaper - Health

Lawndale News Chicago's Bilingual Newspaper - Health

By: Ashmar Mandou

In an effort to remedy the rising discernment between the Chicago Police Department and local activists, the Mayor’s Office, alongside Chairman of the Finance Committee, Scott Waguespack, and Chairman of the Public Safety Committee, Christopher Taliaferro on Wednesday, announced a new ordinance to create a public database of closed police disciplinary investigations. This ordinance will create an unprecedented publicly available dataset of all police disciplinary cases since 2000.

“In order to mend the wounded relationship between the Chicago Police Department and the communities they serve, it is critically important that we double-down on our efforts to root the value of transparency within the department,” said Mayor Lightfoot in a statement to media. “This historic piece of legislation will help to do just that and give the public an important opportunity to see how far we’ve come and weigh in on what we still must do to bring about full police accountability. I want to thank Chairman Waguespack and Chairman Taliaferro for partnering with me on this ordinance and putting our city that much closer to achieving true police reform.”

The database will be created and maintained by the Office of the Inspector General (OIG). After determining an appropriate budget and staff, the OIG will create and publish on its website a searchable and downloadable digital repository of summary reports which will include finalized disciplinary dispositions against members of the Chicago Police Department.

“This ordinance is yet another pivotal step in the right direction toward accountability and transparency,” said 29th Ward Alderman and Chairman of the Public Safety Committee, Chris Taliaferro. “As a former Chicago police officer, I can say through lived experience that the police only benefit when we increase their transparency and accountability to the public.” The new database will be regularly updated by the OIG after the closure of any new disciplinary investigation. No summary reports of investigations into alleged incidents of domestic abuse, child abuse or substance abuse will be published in the database. In addition, the proposed ordinance will not diminish any of the City’s obligations under the Illinois Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). The ordinance, and its corresponding database, will serve as a complement to those important requirements outlined in FOIA, according to the Mayor’s Office.

The ordinance will be introduced at a reconvening of a joint meeting between the Committee on Finance and the Committee on Public Safety on May 24.  Once approved at the committee level, this ordinance will be considered by the full City Council for a final vote of approval. Upon passage, the OIG will have one year following the effective date to create and publish this database.  

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