Fairley, Emanuel Butt Heads Over City's 2018 Funding of COPA - NBC Chicago
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Fairley, Emanuel Butt Heads Over City's 2018 Funding of COPA

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    Fairley, Emanuel Butt Heads Over City's 2018 Funding of COPA
    The head of Chicago's new police oversight agency Sharon Fairley "is definitely considering a run for Attorney General," a spokeswoman for the Civilian Office of Police Accountability said Monday. Fairley was appointed in 2016 to serve as the first chief administrator of COPA, a role she assumed when the office officially opened on Sept. 15 - just 10 days before news broke of her potential departure. Prior to COPA, the former federal prosecutor and assistant attorney general led the new agency's beleaguered predecessor, the Independent Police Review Authority, beginning in Dec. 2015. While Fairley has not officially confirmed she plans to resign, multiple reports said she has already informed Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel of her intent to run for the position.

    No sooner did the Chicago City Council approve the 2018 budget, all $8.6 billion of it, did Sharon Fairley, the former head of COPA, the Civilian Office of Police Accountability Office send out a press release Tuesday criticizing the "gross underfunding" of the police oversight committee.

    Fairley is now a Democratic candidate for Illinois Attorney General.

    She says she is "deeply disappointed by the Chicago City Council's decision" and that funding for COPA is "woefully inadequate and inconsistent with the spirit" of reform that was promised.

    Fairley's direct criticism prompted a response from the person who gave her that COPA job, Mayor Rahm Emanuel. His spokesman says "we have the deepest appreciation for Ms. Fairley's commitment to this important issue, but it appears she is mistaken."

    The mayor's staff notes during the 2017 budget process, Fairley publicly stated the the budget met the required funding. The spokesman notes, "So, it is surprising that as a candidate for office, she is now taking issue with the exact same structure."

    It turns out Fairley requested a drone, new carpet and cubicles for the 2018 COPA budget before she left to enter politics. The City Council did not approve of any of those items. There are also 20 unfilled COPA positions.

    Nevertheless, Fairley points out today "without sufficient resources, the quality and timeliness of the investigative process will most definitely suffer.

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