City Council Confirms Sydney Roberts as New Chief of COPA

Sydney Roberts says Chicago deserves a robust police oversight committee -- and that's what she intends to deliver.

"I am anxious to get started," Roberts said as she was confirmed as the new chief of the Civilian Office of Police Accountability during City Council's Wednesday meeting.

"We will be transparent in our investigative process, our results... and we will be accessible," she added. 

The former director of Secretary of State Police received approval from Jesse White as she faced yet another City Council hearing. 

"He gave her rave reviews," Ald. Walter Burnette said. "If Jesse White says she is OK, she's alright with me." 

Roberts' confirmation comes as the city's police department seeks to rebuild its trust with the community in wake of high-profile shootings like Laquan McDonald and Quintonio LeGrier. Roberts replaces Sharon Fairley, who stepped down to run for Illinois Attorney General. 

"I think she is exactly as I said -- the right person at the right time for the right job in the city," Mayor Rahm Emanuel said. 

In her first Chicago City Council meeting, Roberts steered away from reacting to current controversy surrounding the fatal police shooting of LeGrier, a Chicago teen.

In that case, Chicago Police Supt. Eddie Johnson and COPA disagree over whether Officer Robert Rialmo was justified in shooting LeGrier and bystander Bettie Jones.

“I would be as transparent and open as possible,” Roberts said.

With change on the horizon, community groups, who have been meeting for nearly two years on police reform, say they’re fighting for a bigger voice in decision-making.

“It is about having true community representation at the table when we’re making decisions about community policing,” said resident Erik Martinez.

Exactly what input community groups will receive is not yet settled. Several proposals will be before City Council on the matter.

"Building the community's trust is one of our primary goals and it's going to take some time," Roberts said. "We also have to build some trust with law enforcement." 

Contact Us