As the Police Accountability Task Force (PATF) proposes its recommendations on how the Chicago Police Department can “restore community trust,” City Bureau, the Invisible Institute and Smart Chicago are announcing a new collaboration and civic opportunity.

Using an excel sheet and Genius, a team of City Bureau Community Documenters is creating an annotated, updated and independent hub for public use that will measure the ~200 individual recommendations against existing contracts, policies, potential conflicts and public discourse; such as the Fraternal Order of Police contract, local legislation and media reports.

Click on the yellow highlights on each page of the tracker to see our annotations and add your own annotations to the crowdsourced sections below using Genius and our underlying documentation—no download required. Have a question or suggestion? Contact us at or see our Hearken module below.

Our Process
In partnership with Smart Chicago and the Invisible Institute, City Bureau staff and documenters have listed each of the roughly 200 individual recommendations featured in the 2016 Police Accountability Task Force report “Recommendations for Reform: Restoring Trust between the Chicago Police and the Communities they Serve.” Between April 14-19, our 10 documenters—a group of journalists, lawyers, civic operators and students—analyzed, researched and fact-checked the report in an effort to lay out where each recommendation comes into contact with the city’s moving parts—i.e. where each recommendation is limited by the existing Fraternal Order of Police contract, local legislation and legal precedent, as well as which recommendations already have precedent within police departments around the country.

Using a shared excel sheet, our documenters divided the reform recommendations into 12 sections based on the Task Force’s own section titles; 1) Community & Youth Relations 2) Public Complaint Process 3) Mental Health Response 4) Affidavits & Investigations 5) Civilian Police Monitoring 6) Independent Police Review Authority 7) Release of Video 8) Community Safety 9) Early Intervention & Personnel 10) Organizational Reform 11) Independent Oversight 12) Overarching Recommendations.

Each recommendation is taken verbatim from the report and annotated based on relevant categories. Each annotation is based on documents listed in the “Underlying Documents” tab, along with interviews from experts, city officials and media reports.

The Documents
As the Task Force noted in its report, this current iteration is the sixth such task force to recommend reforms to the Chicago Police Department (see: task force reports from 1898, 1912, 1963, 1972, 1997 and 2016 below)—it will come as no surprise that many of the new reform recommendations have root in findings from the past. We see this particular moment as an opportunity to keep accountability alive during an expansive period in police accountability. The following reports, data and documents are the foundation of our annotated report, among a variety of other sources not listed:

Source Sheet

Our Task Force Tracker—along with our work around the Citizens Police Data Project, our coverage of Chicago Police Board meetingsour monthly town hall events and collaborative journalismis designed as a public resource built in partnership with civic, media and community organizations based in Chicago.  This recommendation tracker will become the basis for future reporting as we open the report to public updates. 


Adeshina Emmanuel
Andrea Hart
Chaclyn Hunt
Christina Bell
Daniel X. O'Neil
Darryl Holliday
Kamil Ahsan

Nissa Rhee
Timna Axel
Yana Kunichoff

In addition to this accountability project, City Bureau is also announcing the creation of its Community Documenters program, a critical component of City Bureau’s mission to bridge the ideals of civic journalism with the economic and political realities in which it exists.

If you would like to apply to be a Documenter please email