When I took office, police reform was a top priority for my new administration. It’s part of a personal mission that has lasted close to two decades. Before taking office, I led the Police Accountability Task Force and chaired the Chicago Police Board, the independent civilian board that decides on allegations of serious misconduct by police officers.
While we’ve made great progress in Chicago, there’s much more to be done to build the feeling and reality of safety that every resident deserves. Here are the concrete steps we’ve taken on police reform:
Implementing the Consent Decree:
In our first budget, we allocated $25.5 million toward consent decree and police reform efforts and created a new Office of Constitutional Policing and Reform Management within CPD to prioritize reform efforts under the consent decree.
There’s still much more to be done—which is why we also created a dashboard that tracks our compliance. You can read much more about the Consent Decree and our compliance here.
Reforming the School Resource Officer Program:
I am grateful to the organizers and activists who have voiced their concerns about this program. I also heard from many parents and principals with stories about the important role that these resource officers play in their schools.
That is why we decided that our elected Local School Councils (LSCs), who know the most about individual schools’ needs, should vote throughout the summer on the future of resource officers in schools.
In addition, principals can now participate in interviews of resource officers and can reject or request candidates. Those candidates are also subject to a more intensive screening process, and they will have annual CPS and youth development training on topics such as de-escalation, recognizing implicit bias, cultural sensitivity, and crisis intervention. No officer with a history of excessive force will be eligible to be in a school.
Police Contract Reform:
Our negotiating team recently won historic police reforms to the contract covering more than 1,500 CPD sergeants, lieutenants and captains.
This new contract allows investigations of anonymous complaints, removes provisions requiring destruction of disciplinary files and records after five years, and implements other reforms. We are fighting to use those contract wins on accountability as a framework for reforms in our next Fraternal Order of Police contract, which we are still negotiating.
We also implemented a “90 Day” reform plan following the murder of George Floyd, which improves officer training, crisis intervention and procedural justice training on de-escalation strategies for all officers, officer wellness and officer recruitment.
There’s also more to come on civilian oversight of the police, diversity in hiring, street outreach, police licensing and body-worn camera expansion, among other issues.
We are working with a variety of stakeholders to build alternatives to the police responding to every call for service.
Click here to read more about additional specifics on police reform.
As always, you’ll be hearing more from me on this topic. Thank you for taking the time to update yourself.
Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot