Since Chicago’s Independent Police Review Authority was founded, there have been 409 official complaints made against police. Only two of those claims of police wrongdoing have been upheld. Ald. Leslie Hairston of the 5th Ward feels that this is a problem and one that she plans to fix.
According to the Chicago Tribune, Hairston wants to replace the IPRA with something called the Independent Citizen Police Monitor. The new board would investigate police shootings, similar to the IPRA, as well as police misconduct,including excessive force, sexual misconduct and domestic violence by officers.
Based on Hairston’s current plan, the board would include 11 people, eight of which would be chosen by the Inspector General. The remaining three spots would be filled by those chosen by the mayor, City Council and police superintendent.
A worthy concern about whether or not Hairston’s plan will get the necessary votes is the lack of conversation that’s been had surrounding it. According to the Tribune, when Hairston spoke at City Hall about the plan on Tuesday, she admitted that she hadn’t spoken about it with other city council members or even Mayor Rahm Emanuel.
Emanuel appears to still be backing his choice to head the IPRA, federal prosecutor Sharon Fairley, and has hopes that it will fill the purpose it was made to – holding police accountable of their actions.
In a time where questionable methods by police are coming out on a regular basis, the fact that they’re practically never seeing any consequences for it is alarming. Perhaps shaking up the process of how they’re investigated and reprimanded is necessary. Whether or not Hairston’s plan will seek approval is yet to be seen. But, hopefully, it will at least get the right people thinking the right things.
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