Chicago’s inspector general’s office contends in a report released Wednesday that the police department's sloppy record keeping makes it difficult for the agency to comply with subpoenas.
The watchdog agency noted many of the Chicago Police Department’s records aren’t digitized and it is impossible for the staff to determine which paper records exist. The inspector general’s office asserts nearly three-quarters of requests sent to the police department’s subpoena unit last summer were never forwarded to other offices within the department to find related records.
“CPD’s failure to identify and produce all records in its possession has put due process and the fairness of criminal and civil litigation at stake, with enormous potential consequences for individual litigants and their liberty interests,” acting Deputy Inspector General for Public Safety Deborah Witzburg said in a statement.
The inspector general’s office recommended the department streamline its records management system under a single unit, establish consistent procedures and find a way to identify both paper and electronic records that would be relevant to a document request.
In a statement, a Chicago Police Department spokesman noted the department had been taking steps to reform its records management policies.