Top cop holds sergeants’ feet to fire, expands CompStat program

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A plan for an elected civilian board to oversee the Chicago Police Department was rejected on Monday. | File photo

In the face of rising gun violence in Chicago, the police department is expanding its CompStat program that analyzes crime trends.

CompStat — from “computer statistics” — was created by the New York Police Department in 1995 and was brought to Chicago by then-Chicago Police Supt. Garry McCarthy in 2011. He ran CompStat while he was a top official in the New York Police Department.

During the past five years, the department has held weekly CompStat meetings at police headquarters at 35th and Michigan. In the sometimes-testy meetings, McCarthy and other top brass questioned commanders about crime trends in their districts and what they were doing to quell the problems.

Interim Police Supt. John Escalante announced Thursday that he will continue to hold those same CompStat meetings at police headquarters every three weeks — but the department will also hold smaller CompStat meetings once a month in the city’s three detective areas.

In those meetings, sergeants will be held accountable for the success of their units, Escalante said in a statement. The expansion of CompStat starts Friday, he said.

Commanders and lieutenants, for example, will hold sergeants accountable for making sure dashboard-mounted cameras, and body cameras, are working, Escalante said.

“We will ask things like, ‘How many sergeants are supervising officers in an area,’ and we’ll cross-check that with the crime activity in the area,” said Anthony Guglielmi, a spokesman for the police department. “If we are experiencing an uptick in a district, how many officers are there and what is the sergeant/officer ratio?”

The change is modeled on CompStat programs in other departments, including New York. The NYPD has a central CompStat meeting and separate CompStat meetings in the city’s boroughs, Guglielmi said.

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