In late 2016, the City’s initiated the first stage of legislative reforms for police accountability with, among other things, the creation of an independent dedicated police oversight office within the Office of Inspector General. The law took effect in November, and funding for it was made available at the start of 2017. OIG is working to build that section. A critical step in that process is the selection of a Deputy Inspector General for Public Safety to lead the new section. The legislation creating that unit mandated that a national search be conducted by an external group charged with providing the Inspector General with a list of 10 or more qualified candidates. That process has been directly informed by community input in the form of an initial external screening panel constituted of local constituent interest leaders and experts in the field, followed by the interview of finalists by a panel of local community organizers and leaders. This process is the first step of engagement of community stakeholders whose perspective and insights we will be seeking to inform an understanding of community experiences, perspective and priorities and baseline institutional knowledge of the Department itself that will inform the work in the new section. To be most effective, that input should be as fully informed as possible. Therefore, whenever possible we will endeavor to publish data on our website for general public consumption and use.
The dedicated Public Safety (Police) oversight section is starting from a strong foundation established through trailblazing official OIG investigative and audit inquiries into aspects of the operations of CPD and Independent Police Review Authority (IPRA) (soon to give way to a new, and better resourced and empowered Civilian Office of Police Accountability (COPA) whose primary responsibility will be the investigation of police use of force incidents. In recent years, OIG has published 13 audits, advisories and reviews on police and public safety subjects. OIG has also taken on investigations of misconduct police and police oversight personnel, sworn and unsworn, patrol and managerial, in matters where the previously existing oversight system had faltered, including broadscale investigations into the department’s investigative handling of the Laquan McDonald shooting, and its investigations of the death of David Koschman.
The creation of the dedicated Public Safety Section, is a critical beginning, but by no means the end, of a long path of establishing public confidence, trust in and legitimacy of CPD. We are hopeful that sworn officers, the residents of the City they serve, the public servants who provide critical support services to both groups, and all those invested in the health and future of this City will join and partner with us in that journey, grounded in a greater commitment to transparency and productive dialogue and engagement with each other.