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$24M Police Reform 'Down Payment' Includes 100 New Training Officers: Rahm

By Heather Cherone | October 17, 2017 5:45am
 Mayor Rahm Emanuel greets a police officer Monday at an event designed to showcase the deployment of additional officers.
Mayor Rahm Emanuel greets a police officer Monday at an event designed to showcase the deployment of additional officers.
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Twitter/@ChicagosMayor

CITY HALL — Mayor Rahm Emanuel is set to propose spending $24 million more next year to reform the Chicago Police Department after the fatal shooting of Laquan McDonald and a federal investigation that found evidence that officers routinely violated residents' civil rights by using excessive force.

“Lasting and meaningful reform is essential to strengthening trust between the police and the community they serve,” Emanuel said in a statement. “With this investment, the city of Chicago is making a down payment on police reform.”

READ THE FULL DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE REPORT HERE

Emanuel is set to introduce his 2018 budget Wednesday, and his staff did not specify where the additional money would be found in the city's spending plan. In all, it will propose spending $27 million on reform efforts in 2018. The city spent $3 million on reform efforts in 2017.

RELATED: Comprehensive coverage of Emanuel's 2018 budget

In addition, the 2018 budget is expected to include approximately $60 million to hire 266 police officers, 100 detectives and 75 sergeants in 2018, the final year of a two-year hiring push.

The bulk of the additional money earmarked for reform efforts by the mayor will be used to hire 100 more veteran officers and assign them to teach rookie officers how to patrol Chicago's streets.

In their report, federal investigators said they were not convinced that the Police Department's field-training program taught newly minted officers learn how to patrol Chicago's streets "lawfully and effectively."

Those new field-training officers' salaries and benefits will cost $17 million, or about 70 percent of the funds set aside for the reform efforts, officials said.

Those officers are in addition to the 92 field-training officers included in Emanuel's initial hiring plan, officials said.

Federal investigators concluded the department's field-training program was a "hot mess" that "actively undermines, rather than reinforces, constitutional policing."

The report found there were not enough veteran officers in the field-training program, which forced as many as three rookie officers to be assigned to one experienced officer. That is unacceptable, according to federal officials.

More troubling, the federal report found, was that field training officers frequently tell rookie police officers to "throw out" what they learned in the academy because they will show the new officers how to "be the police."

This "unwillingness to reinforce academy training, whether because they accurately judge it to be inadequate or because they do not respect CPD's core values, sends a perilous message to recruits and undermines any improved polices or procedures intended to inculcate a culture of respectful and constitutional policing," according to the federal report.

Early-Warning System Funded

In addition, a portion of the moneyb earmarked for reform efforts in 2018 will be used to continue developing an early-warning system designed to flag officers who had been the subject of serious complaints, one of dozens of recommendations made by federal investigators who also found officers were poorly trained and lacked supervision.

In 1994, city officials bought software designed to establish a state-of-the-art system to alert the department's top brass about officers, but scrapped the system after two years.

"Union leadership felt this system unfairly targeted officers and subjected them to unfair, adversarial questioning from Internal Affairs," according to the Department of Justice's report released in January.

Under the current system, 90 percent of officers with multiple complaints were never flagged, including officers who amassed more than 50 abuse complaints within five years, according to a 2007 study cited by federal investigators.

While the effort to craft a new early-warning system with the University of Chicago Crime Lab is "promising," investigators found, it is likely to be unsuccessful because it did not consult the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 7, which represents most rank-and-file officers, at the start of the process.

"Despite the best intentions of all involved, there are indications that this attempt may not be any more fruitful than past attempts, unless the city lays the necessary groundwork and stays focused until the [early-warning system] is fully integrated into CPD culture," according to the report.

The additional money will also cover the cost of the department's new requirement that all officers undergo 16 hours of in-service training in 2018. That requirement will expand to 40 hours annually by 2021, officials said.

Office of Reform Management​ Established

Emanuel also proposed creating a new 26-member office in the police department that will oversee the implementation of reforms of the police department set to be imposed by a federal judge. In August, Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan filed suit against the city demanding that a federal judge oversee the reform effort.

Emanuel said he welcomed that effort — despite saying for three months that there was no need for a federal judge to oversee police reform efforts. That judge will ultimately decide the cost and scope of the reform effort.

The mayor's statement did not specify how that office would interact with the Chicago Police Board or with the newly established Civilian Office of Police Accountability.

New Community Policing Effort

Emanuel's proposed 2018 budget will also include $3 million — up from $1 million last year — to pay for the department's renewed emphasis on community policing, officials said.

That money will be used to hire 30 new community relations coordinators, organizers and advocates who will be charged with "engaging communities, young people, block clubs and victims," officials said.

That will increase the size of the department's community policing staff by 64 percent, officials said.

In addition, the funds will establish District Advisory Councils and Youth District Advisory Councils to strengthen ties between officers and community members, as called for in the department's new community policing policy.

More Body Cameras

While all patrol officers will be equipped equipped with body cameras by the end of December, specialized units — such as specialized units and area teams — will get the cameras in 2018, officials said.

The cameras are designed "to further the ability to fairly resolve complaints and improve transparency."