More than two years after Chicago and its police department entered into a consent decree to reform a longstanding, pervasive “pattern or practice” of civil rights abuses by the CPD, the city had reached full compliance on only 19 of 519 paragraphs, “secondary” compliance on 65 and preliminary compliance on 182 as of the end of June.
Together, that means CPD was complying or its way to doing so on just over half of the requirements of the consent decree as of then.
Two parties closely watching the city’s progress were underwhelmed. The ACLU of Illinois said the latest report is “another failing grade,” and the Illinois Attorney General said that in some cases the city was backsliding.
Remaining incomplete as of the report were top issues for CPD after the police shootings of Adam Toledo and Anthony Alvarez: reformed foot-pursuit policy and tracking of such pursuits.
“In a troubling move backwards, CPD disabled its foot pursuit data dashboard and revealed that the data it had collected over the past two years was deeply flawed, causing it to fall out of compliance with certain requirements. CPD has yet to fully explain the scope of these data flaws or how CPD will resolve them in the future,” Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul’s office said in a letter contained with Hickey’s court filing. “These data quality issues also contributed to the city and CPD’s failure to adopt a foot pursuit policy by the mandated deadline, a reform that was already long overdue.”
Two continued struggles within the police department, according to independent monitor Maggie Hickey’s nearly 1,000-page report, are “collecting, managing, and analyzing data” and CPD’s community engagement efforts. Two years in, Hickey found in some instances, the community was “effectively prevented from the opportunity of meaningful participation” and that it was still unclear how outside community feedback gets incorporated into CPD’s policies.
The city missed roughly half—25 of 51—of the agreed-upon deadlines for this report, but it’s the first reporting period where the city’s met more of the deadlines than it missed.
In a joint statement, Mayor Lori Lightfoot and CPD Superintendent David Brown pointed out that the department’s compliance efforts two years in exceed any other American city under a consent decree at that point. “While there has been progress in the CPD’s reform efforts, we know there’s more to do,” the statement says. “The city and CPD remain committed to fulfilling not only the requirements delineated by the consent decree but will go above and beyond what is outlined to create transformative and lasting reform within the Department.”
Among the city’s touted accomplishments: rewrites of its use-of-force policies, expanding neighborhood policing initiatives to 10 police districts and expanding the number of support clinicians within the department from three to 11 to offer counseling services to cops.
Most of the areas where the city newly reached full compliance don’t deal with the Chicago Police Department, but with other public safety offices like the Office of Emergency Management & Communications, the Civilian Office of Police Accountability, the Inspector General and the Police Board.
Hickey’s most recent special report focused on the city’s disjointed response to protests and unrest following the death of George Floyd in 2020.
CPD did manage to turn in more of its homework compared to previous reporting periods, but was still turning in 20% of requested data during the last two weeks of the period, giving the monitor little chance to follow up with questions or comments.
Also stymying compliance: high turnover at the department. “In all, more Chicago police officers retired between January and June of 2021 than retired in all of 2018,” the monitor’s latest report points out. Civilian exits are a concern as well. Those employees “are crucial to the city’s ability to appropriately collect, audit, analyze, and report valid and reliable data.”