Independent Oversight / by Darryl Holliday

  1. Based on our review of the national experience with police oversight generally and police auditing specifically, we have concluded that Chicago would benefit tremendously from the creation of an independent monitoring entity. The creation of this position would greatly enhance the transparency, accountability and quality of the oversight structure.
  2. The Task Force recommends that the new entity be housed within the City of Chicago Office of the Inspector General because it already has relevant expertise, the general authority to conduct this work and has begun to audit some police department functions and build up institutional knowledge. We also recommend the following related to the new Inspector General’s powers and obligations:
    • Give the inspector general a broad scope of authority to review and make recommendations. Enabling legislation should follow the models set out in Los Angeles, Denver and New York, where the inspector general or monitor's powers are defined in broad terms, rather than providing a list of narrow functions, which could be interpreted as significantly restricting the auditor's authority. The enabling legislation should leave no doubt that the inspector general may perform the functions laid out below. While the inspector general would have the power to make findings and issue recommendations, the inspector general could not override the decision of another investigative body.
    • Auditing/Monitoring/Reviewing individual cases. While CPD and IPRA or its successor have primary responsibility for investigating civilian complaints and incidents involving death, serious injury or serious use of force, the inspector general would work to ensure the quality and integrity of individual investigations.
      • The inspector general should be empowered to request that individual investigations be expanded or reopened. If CPD or IPRA (or its successor) does not expand or reopen the investigation, or complete it to the satisfaction of the inspector general, the inspector general’s office should be authorized to conduct additional investigation.
      • When investigations into serious uses of force do not result in sustained findings, the inspector general should be required to work with IPRA (or its successor) and CPD to conduct Force Analysis Panels to determine if the incident revealed any systemic deficiencies in training, policy, supervision, or equipment.
    • Auditing and Monitoring patterns of police activity and complaints. When reviewing complaints and data about police behavior, the inspector general should be empowered to examine not just individual incidents as described above, but also information in the aggregate. The inspector general should identify patterns, determine whether the patterns reflect systemic problems, and, if so, make recommendations about how to address them.
      • Pattern analysis should include, but not be limited to: officer use of force; police shootings; use of Tasers or any weapon used to inflict pain and/or gain compliance; citizen complaint log numbers; and potential bias, including, but not limited, to bias in policing related to race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity and geography.
      • Pattern analysis could also include reviewing all sustained findings and discipline recommended by IPRA or its successor, the Police Board and BIA in order to assess disciplinary trends, to determine whether discipline is consistently applied and fair, and to determine whether final disciplinary decisions are being executed as resolved.
      • Pattern analysis could also include analyses of citizen complaints, use of force, lawsuits, and other relevant data to identify individual and groups of officers who may be engaged in a pattern of misconduct.
      • Auditing operations, policies and procedures. The inspector general should have broad authority to review police operations, policies, supervision, training and procedures. The goal is to review and analyze all relevant information (including litigation and settlement data) in order to identify systemic patterns and problems, including, but not limited to, those that may correlate to race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity and geography, and propose changes in policies and procedures, training and supervision.
      • Provide broad power to initiate audits. The inspector general should not be required to seek approval to conduct any specific audit or investigation.
  3. Enabling legislation should incorporate language like Los Angeles': "The Inspector General is empowered to initiate and conduct investigations of the Department, without limitation as to the type of the activity of the Department, including ongoing and in-progress matters."
  4. Oversight authority should not be limited to CPD. The inspector general should be authorized to make recommendations for all departments whose work directly affects CPD operations, including, but not limited to, IPRA (or its successor), the Police Board, OEMC, the Fire Department and the City's Department of Law.
  5. The inspector general should serve for a fixed term and should only be removed for cause. City ordinance should establish a fixed term of office for the inspector general, though, at the conclusion of a term, an inspector general could be considered for reappointment.
  6. The removal process should also require a City Council hearing. These provisions will make it much more difficult to remove the inspector general for political reasons and will make it easier to issue critical reports without fear of reprisal.
  7. Job qualifications should be established. There should be clearly articulated educational and employment history requirements for leadership positions. Job qualifications could include relevant certification. In addition, in order to prevent bias and the perception of bias, former police officers should be prohibited from serving as inspectors general.
  8. There should be public engagement in the selection process. The selection of an inspector general must incorporate meaningful community input. The City of Chicago Inspector General should have the ultimate authority to hire the Inspector General for Public Safety, but the process should include extensive public engagement. At minimum, CPIA should have an opportunity to review applications and interview finalists, and finalists should be required to participate in several public forums where they would answer questions from the general public. The position should require City Council confirmation. It is essential that the selection process be perceived as fair, open and uninfluenced by politics, and that it include genuine opportunities for community engagement.
  9. There should be public engagement with the office of the Inspector General for Public Safety. Either the civilian oversight entity should have regular meetings with the Inspector General for Public Safety to facilitate communication with the broader community, or a Citizen Advisory Board should be created for the Inspector General for Public safety for this purpose.
  10. The civilian oversight entity should have the authority to request that the inspector general perform an audit into a particular area.
  11. In addition, the inspector general should have a community outreach staff and budget. The outreach should include public events to solicit feedback and input on the auditing entity and its work and public education initiatives to inform the public about the office and the scope of its work. The outreach should include both youth and adult populations. Engagement and outreach will help to ensure that people have enough information to take full advantage of the office’s skills and capacity, especially in communities where trust in CPD is lowest. A civilian oversight entity or Civilian Advisory Board and a committed, engaged, sensitive and thoughtful community outreach staff can help to ensure that the office reaches its full potential.
  12. The office of inspector general must be authorized to legally represent itself, including as necessary, retaining outside, private legal counsel in any legal matter, enforcement action or court proceeding when the inspector general determines that the City of Chicago’s Corporation Counsel would have a conflict in representing the interests of the inspector general. (
  13. The inspector general must have sufficient resources to meet the substantial demands of the office. Additional research should be conducted to determine an appropriate funding and staffing level, but our assessment based on the interviews we have conducted so far suggests that the office should maintain a ratio of approximately 1 staff person for every 250 sworn officers, with sufficient discretion vested in the Inspector General to determine the appropriate balance of staffing levels and qualifications.
  14. The budget should be insulated from politics. City ordinance should mandate a specific staffing ratio and require funding to provide for that staffing level. The ordinance should establish a minimum annual budget for the office.
  15. City ordinance must specify that the inspector general have unfettered access to data from CPD, IPRA (or its successor) and other agencies such as the law department, except where the law prohibits it, and that access must be clearly spelled out in legislation. Access to data must include direct access to CPD databases and, to protect the integrity of investigations, the ability to use information from the databases in a way that is invisible to CPD. The access to data must include litigation and settlement data, data from body and car cameras and early warning system data. The inspector general should have direct access to information wherever possible, and the rest should be provided in a timely fashion unless a written explanation is provided. There should be a presumption of disclosure. The City should consider including a provision that permits sanctions in the event that any entity fails to cooperate in any request for data. The inspector general should be provided documents without charge.
  16. The ordinance should include affirmative obligations for some law enforcement-related officials to share specified information with the inspector general. For example, IPRA or its successor and BIA should be required to report monthly to the inspector general any problems and deficiencies relating to CPD’s operations, policies, programs and practices that would reasonably be expected to adversely affect the effectiveness of the department, public safety, the exercise of civil liberties and civil rights, or the public’s confidence in the police force.
  17. The ordinance should specify protections afforded to sources in order to prevent retaliation and encourage people to come forward with information. City ordinance should require the inspector general to keep confidential the identity of a complainant, as well as all information and documents, except when necessary for the inspector general to carry out its duties and when the law so requires. Among other things, the City should not be able to subpoena the inspector general's notes of interviews with complainants. City ordinance should also prohibit retaliation against any employee who has contact with the inspector general. If retaliation is suspected, the inspector general should be authorized to open an investigation into the matter and issue a complaint to the appropriate entity.
  18. The inspector general should be required to produce an annual report. The report should summarize the audits and investigations conducted in the past year, reporting the analysis of information including patterns and trends, the outcomes of individual investigations/complaints and all recommendations. Annual reports should also provide status updates on the adoption of previous policy recommendations. All reports should be available to the public on the inspector general's web site.
  19. The inspector general should be required to prepare a written report for every investigation, review, study or audit it conducts, including any recommendations that come out of the investigation, review, study or audit.
  20. Though the inspector general should have broad discretion to initiate investigations about anything within the scope of its jurisdiction, the inspector general should also be required to perform regularly scheduled audits on certain subjects, including but not limited to:
    • sustained findings and discipline recommended and implemented by IPRA or its successor, the Police Board, and BIA in order to assess trends, consistency, fairness, and whether final disciplinary decisions are being executed as resolved;
    • citizen complaints and investigations, use of force, lawsuits and settlements to identify individuals and groups of officers who may be engaged in a pattern of misconduct and to identify areas for reform; and
    • video footage from officer body and officer car dashboard cameras to evaluate whether they are fully operational and being used according to policy and to ensure that all possible officer violations of CPD policy and/or law captured on video footage are properly investigated.
  21. The inspector general should be required to provide reports to the City Council prior to any vote regarding a payout providing information on litigation and settlement trends, as well as any information or trends regarding the officer or supervisor involved.
  22. The CPD Superintendent or head of any entity that is the subject of recommendations should be required to publicly respond to reports in writing within 60 days of the issuance of the report.
  23. The inspector general should provide the City Council with an analysis of the complaint history of those officers who are the subject of potential civil lawsuit settlements before the Council considers said settlement proposals.