Report: Police Board Rarely Disciplines Cops

Board only fires a third of superintendent's suggested terminations

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    NEWSLETTERS

    TK
    If you're expecting Chicago cops to lose their jobs because of their indiscretions, don't hold your breath.

    To say Chicago cops have a poor reputation would be an understatement.

    But if you're expecting those officers to lose their jobs because of their indiscretions, don't hold your breath.

    Only a third of all Chicago police officers considered for termination in the last 10 years were actually fired, says a new report from the Chicago Justice Project, .

    "The Chicago Justice Project analyzed 312 case filings by the Superintendent of Police seeking disciplinary review and action by the Chicago Police Board. Our study reveals discrepancies between the Superintendent's recommendations and the Board's actions," reads the CJP study.

    Here's how the system currently works: if the Police Superintendent wants to have an officer fired, he first must get the approval of the Chicago Police Board, which is comprised of nine civilians appointed by the mayor.

    But between 1999 and 2008, the Board only upheld 37 percent of the top cop's recommendations.

    "Basically, two-thirds of the time, they're keeping officers that the department ... wants fired," Tracy Siska, CJP executive director, told Chicago Public Radio.

    Consider the case of Officer William Cozzi. The 51-year-old cop was caught on tape beating a man who was handcuffed to a wheelchair.

    Supt. Weis wanted to fire Cozzi. The board gave him a two-year suspension. (It wasn't until federal prosecutors indicted Cozzi that he was taken off the force.)

    Perhaps we should be grateful that the Board disciplined him at all. According to the review, in 20 percent of cases where the superintendent sought to fire an officer, the Board neither dismissed nor punished the officers in any way.

    Siska believes that the Board wouldn't be so quick to rule against the superintendent's recommendations if they had to provide written explanations. He is currently working with aldermen and is taking steps to pitch such an ordinance.

    Matt Bartosik, a "between blogs" blogger, isn't holding his breath.