While the Chicago Police Department says it is making progress in reforms required by the department’s federal consent decree, some critics say that the department is falling short in key areas.
According to details contained in the third report filed with the independent monitor overseeing the department’s consent decree, CPD says it is making progress towards reform.
“This reporting period reflects the fact that we acknowledge that more has to be done, (and that) reform has to be done with the community,” Robert Boik, head of the CPD’s Office of Constitutional Policing and Reform, said. “It’s not something that can be done sitting in our offices alone. We have to have a thorough discussion with the community.”
Boik says that his office is accelerating its efforts to implement reforms in the department, introducing new, community-centric training programs for its officers.
“As recently as five years ago, we had no in-service training program for the department,” he said. “Since that time, we have really ramped up to a required number of what we call ‘in-service training hours,’ and it’s like a continuing education program for our officers.”
The department says it has spent more than 240 hours engaging the community through panel discussions and other meetings, seeking input on its plans and programs.
Critics have plenty of qualms about the report, saying that police are more interested in discussing reform than in absorbing lessons from the community and implementing them.
“We have seen police holding meetings with community groups in Chicago, but not actually listening to what they are saying,” Nusrat Choudhury, the legal director at the ACLU’s Illinois branch, said. “Unfortunately, this report stands in stark contrast to what we have seen in policing this year, with horrific ongoing mistaken raids on the homes of Black and Brown people in Chicago.”
Boik acknowledges that the department still has work to do, but that officials are “invested in doing that work” in the months and years ahead.