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Ald. Hairston Wants To Replace Police Watchdog With More Independent Agency

By Sam Cholke | April 5, 2016 5:53pm
 Ald. Leslie Hairston wants to entirely remake the system of police oversight in Chicago with a new, more independent agency.
Ald. Leslie Hairston wants to entirely remake the system of police oversight in Chicago with a new, more independent agency.
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DNAinfo/Ted Cox

HYDE PARK — Ald. Leslie Hairston (5th) said Tuesday she wants to scrap the Independent Police Review Authority and start a new agency to keep tabs on police.

Hairston said she would introduce an ordinance to City Council on Wednesday to create the Independent Citizen Police Monitor, which would inject more community input and financial independence into conducting investigations of police misconduct.

“An Independent Citizen Police Monitor is needed, because you can’t keep shuffling the deck with the same people and call that accountability,” Hairston said in a prepared statement. “You must put something in place that’s meaningful, that’s supported by a budget, has a revenue source, and provides an opportunity for input by the people of Chicago.”

Under Hairston’s proposal the community groups would get a much larger say in who runs the organization and former employees of the Chicago Police Department and Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office would be barred from running or working in the new agency.

The new agency would also be more financially independent, getting a fixed 1.5 percent of the Chicago Police Department’s budget every year to investigate complaints of police misconduct.

In response to recent allegations of violence by officers, the agency would be required to release videos other information about shooting investigations and post all of its reports online after completing an investigation.

The proposal has gained the support of some advocates for greater transparency in how police misconduct is investigated.

“This is what real transparency looks like,” said Craig Futterman, a University of Chicago attorney who has worked on numerous cases about entrenched problems in the police force.

It’s unclear still if Hairston has the support of other aldermen or Mayor Rahm Emanuel.

Hairston was not immediately available to comment, but she told CBS2 that she has not yet made her case for the new agency to the mayor’s office or her colleagues in Council.

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