Civilian Police Monitoring / by Darryl Holliday

  1. IPRA should be replaced with a new Civilian Police Investigative Agency (CPIA). The City Council should enact legislation that ensures the new civilian oversight entity is established in accordance with the principles described below.
     
  2. Design an open and public selection process for a Chief Administrator. The new Community Safety Oversight Board should select the Chief Administrator. It is important that CPIA be perceived as legitimate; the selection of this position should be insulated from politics, transparent and widely inclusive. The selection process should also include multiple opportunities for significant community input that will be seriously considered by the selection committee.
     
  3. Design an open and public selection process for a Chief Administrator. The new Community Safety Oversight Board should select the Chief Administrator. It is important that CPIA be perceived as legitimate; the selection of this position should be insulated from politics, transparent and widely inclusive. The selection process should also include multiple opportunities for significant community input that will be seriously considered by the selection committee.
     
  4. Establish selection requirements for the Chief Administrator and investigators to avoid bias. In order to prevent bias (and the perception of bias), previously sworn employees of CPD (and non-sworn employees who have worked for CPD within the past five years) and the Cook County State’s Attorney Office should be prohibited from serving as investigators and/or the Chief Administrator. Individuals who hold these positions must reflect the City’s diversity.
     
  5. Establish selection requirements for the Chief Administrator and investigators to avoid bias. In order to prevent bias (and the perception of bias), previously sworn employees of CPD (and non-sworn employees who have worked for CPD within the past five years) and the Cook County State’s Attorney Office should be prohibited from serving as investigators and/or the Chief Administrator. Individuals who hold these positions must reflect the City’s diversity.
     
  6. Provide a grant of jurisdiction that ensures that CPIA is informed by community complaints. CPIA must be empowered to investigate the issues that are of most pressing concern to the community. CPIA’s jurisdiction should be expanded beyond IPRA’s current jurisdiction to include unlawful search and seizures and denial of access to counsel. At the end of CPIA’s first year of operation, an outside, independent entity should evaluate whether the expanded jurisdiction of CPIA is appropriate and achievable.
     
  7. Provide a grant of jurisdiction that ensures that CPIA is informed by community complaints. CPIA must be empowered to investigate the issues that are of most pressing concern to the community. CPIA’s jurisdiction should be expanded beyond IPRA’s current jurisdiction to include unlawful search and seizures and denial of access to counsel. At the end of CPIA’s first year of operation, an outside, independent entity should evaluate whether the expanded jurisdiction of CPIA is appropriate and achievable.
     
  8. Establish a clear, easy-to-understand mission statement. This is essential to provide civilians and officers with a fair and impartial complaint system and to employ the preponderance of the evidence standard when deliberating on complaints.
     
  9. Remove barriers to accountability. No credible allegation should be ignored because of technical complaint submission requirements (like an affidavit requirement) or because the civilian involved is hesitant or unable to provide a complaint form. The Chief Administrator should be empowered to investigate any incidents that fall under her jurisdiction, even in the absence of sworn complaints. Complaints must be accepted from anyone with personal knowledge of the incident. The Chief Administrator may launch investigations based on any credible source, including media accounts, a review of use of force reports or referrals from other oversight entities.
     
  10. Gather and leverage data generated by civil litigation and criminal motions to suppress to learn more about trends in citizen complaints. The civil rights and criminal defense bars in Chicago have, through decades of litigation, developed rich data regarding CPD policy and practice. This information has largely been untouched by the various oversight entities. This represents a significant missed opportunity to ensure accountability. CPIA should be charged with investigating the facts of all civil lawsuits, which, if submitted as a complaint, would fall under its jurisdiction. Further, CPIA should develop a process to gather the facts contained in all criminal motions to suppress that allege facts, which if submitted as a complaint, would fall under its jurisdiction to determine if a full investigation is warranted.
     
  11. Establish clear lines of jurisdiction. Misconduct investigations often reveal multiple layers of wrongdoing. For example, in a use of force investigation, it may become clear that an officer filed a false police report. CPIA does not have original jurisdiction to investigate false reporting, but, if the false reporting is related to a force investigation, the monitor should be empowered to investigate it and issue appropriate findings.
     
  12. Empower CPIA with the authority needed to investigate. CPIA must have the ability to collect evidence, conduct prompt interviews, subpoena witnesses and enforce its subpoena power by retaining outside, independent counsel. This is an existing power within IPRA and should be continued in a new body unabated.
     
  13. Civilian oversight should run currently with criminal investigations. In the past, IPRA investigations have consistently stalled while the Cook County State’s Attorney determined whether or not it would move forward with criminal charges under the same set of facts as IPRA was investigating. The practice led to long delays in investigating and resolving IPRA’s cases after the State’s Attorney’s Office closed its investigation. This need not be the case. While it may sometimes make sense for an IPRA investigator to pause her or his investigation to preserve the integrity of the criminal matter, this rule is not universal. Rather, it is better practice to presume that the matters should be run concurrently, and both entities should meet regularly to determine if one or the other investigation should be paused during the process or, in the ideal, if both cases can be investigated at the same time.
     
  14. Ensure an accessible, safe and comfortable complaint process. Civilians must be able to file complaints via the internet, over the phone and in their communities. The new body should use national models, such as New York City’s Civilian Complaint Review Board, which has developed a model of hosting meetings within city neighborhoods on a posted rotating basis to take and verify complaints.
     
  15. Conduct community education regarding rights and the oversight process. CPIA must be responsible for launching a public education/community engagement campaign that educates the public about their rights and the complaint/investigative process.
     
  16. Establish community oversight over CPIA. CPIA must be legitimately accountable to members of the community. The community must have the power to require that CPIA hold public hearings through the new Community Safety Oversight Board, CPIA must develop (and be responsive to) a civilian feedback process, and CPIA must be audited by an independent third-party entity selected by those on the selection committee if an auditing function is not otherwise available in the City. Additionally, CPIA must hold regular community meetings to inform the public of its actions.
     
  17. Proactively prevent abuse and misconduct through policy and practice recommendations and use-of-force analyses. CPIA must conduct pattern and practice analyses both proactively and reactively where it has subject matter jurisdiction. This should include proactive analyses of potential patterns of police misconduct that are within its subject matter jurisdiction, including information found in court filings, judicial findings, internal CPD documents and incidents where individuals were charged with offenses commonly believed to cover up police misconduct (such as assault on a police officer, disorderly conduct, resisting arrest and misconduct investigations), and other potential pattern evidence, and the establishment of a transparent process (that is informed by community concerns) for CPIA to make training, policy, and procedure recommendations to CPD. In turn, CPD must publicly respond to these recommendations.
     
  18. Operate with complete transparency. CPIA must prioritize keeping the public informed by posting summary reports of each completed investigation; publishing comprehensive annual reports on its work; and establishing a transparent process to make training, policy and procedure recommendations to CPD and a transparent process to make public CPD’s response. CPIA should also promptly respond to all requests from the new Community Safety Oversight Board.
     
  19. Provide resources to be rigorous and independent. In order to provide sufficient oversight and meet the demands of an expanded jurisdiction that includes explicit obligations regarding community engagement and policy and practice recommendations, CPIA must have sufficient resources, and those resources should, to the extent possible, be insulated from the political process. CPIA’s funding should be a percentage of CPD’s budget so that the office cannot be defunded. This funding should provide CPIA with sufficient resources and powers to conduct prompt, unbiased and independent investigations into police misconduct that are of the highest quality. Best practices within the field indicate that the budget should be tied to 1% of CPD’s budget and/or a ratio of 1 CPIA investigator for every 250 sworn CPD officers.
     
  20. Provide complainant support. CPIA should provide supportive services to complainants, including regular updates regarding the investigation, information about the process and outcomes and referrals to outside service providers when needed. All of the investigators who work for CPIA and BIA should be trained to work with victims of trauma and taught to conduct victim/trauma-sensitive interviews.
     
  21. Develop and adopt standardized penalties. As with other oversight entities, CPIA should adopt a discipline matrix, a national best practice that determines a fixed set of penalties for behavior and history. A matrix has been used informally at IPRA for over a year and should be formally reviewed and adopted.
     
  22. Establish penalties for CPD’s failure to cooperate. Require CPD to fire officers who lie during misconduct investigations. Require CPD to fire and refer for criminal prosecution any officer who retaliates against any person who reports police abuse.
     
  23. Ensure the appropriate use of the mediation program. CPIA should establish clear and bright line rules regarding the cases and procedures for its mediation program. To the extent possible, CPIA should create a program that is in line with national best practices for mediation for citizen oversight organizations.
     
  24. Address limits imposed by the CBAs. Require that the collective bargaining agreements conform with rigorous, transparent and accountable civilian oversight.