Wednesday Letters: 9 changes we need in police contract

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Eight burglaries were reported in late June 2020 on the Northwest Side.

(Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

Sun-Times file photo

It is my belief that part of the rebuilding of the bridge between law enforcement and citizens will demand that law enforcement officers across the nation and in the Chicago, who have wrongfully killed young black men, be held accountable and go to jail. These officers going to jail will send a message to other officers that wrongdoing will be punished and it will send a message to the community that officers that do wrong will be held accountable.

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But it’s also going to demand that the collective bargaining agreement  with the union and the City of Chicago must make some necessary changes:

1. The affidavit requirements should be removed so investigators can identify additional cases of police misconduct.

2. Anonymous complaints should be allowed to encourage reporting by those who fear retaliation, including whistleblowers.

3. Officers should not be informed of the complainant’s name prior to interrogation. There is little need for the officer to know the name of a complainant prior to interrogation if it is later disclosed during the resolution of the case.

4. The provision requiring destruction of records should be eliminated. The rule is in tension, if not outright conflict, with general principles of public record keeping. It deprives the public of important information that serves numerous operational and public policy objectives.

5. The provision that forbids the Chicago Police Department from rewarding officers who act as whistleblowers should be removed.

6. The collective bargaining agreement dictates the manner in which interrogators can ask questions, which presents an unnecessary burden on interrogators and potentially sets them up to violate the CBA for a technicality. The policy does not appear to comport with any best practices and should be eliminated.

7. The CBA requires that officers must be informed of that nature of the allegations prior to interrogation. This provision is presently interpreted very specifically to mean a detailed recitation of the charges. This provision should be amended to allow for more general recitation of allegations.

8. End the practice of allowing officers to apply accumulated comp time towards recommended days of discipline.

9. Change the Use of Force policies related to deadly force.

· “Fleeing felon” provision is too permissive.

· Lack of preservation of life.

· Lack of specific language regarding non-firearm weapons.

· Lack of “reasonableness” factor related to use of deadly force; for example Tennessee v. Garner states that when pursuing a fleeing suspect, he or she may not use deadly force to prevent escape unless “the officer has probable cause to believe that the suspect poses a significant threat of death or serious physical injury to the other officer or others”

· Officers should use tactics to avoid exigency of use of force.

· De-escalation, lack of compliance with orders on subjects.

Until we make changes in policy and hold officers accountable when they do wrong, the rebuilding of the broken bridge will be nearly impossible.

Rev. Michael L. Pfleger,

senior pastor, Faith Community of St. Sabina

Broken energy policies

When something’s broken, you fix it. And in Illinois, our renewable energy policies are some of the most broken in the nation. They keep us from reaching our clean energy goals, but, more importantly, they keep Illinoisans from gaining employment.

Illinois’ clean energy industry is dominated by small businesses, many of whom are struggling to grow – or struggling to operate — with unstable policy. At Solar Service, we call this instability the “solarcoaster” — an unpredictable cycle of contradictory incentives and disincentives that prevent solar from taking off here the way it is in most other states.

Our business, and many like us, can’t expand until Springfield passes comprehensive fixes to our renewable energy policies. These policies were groundbreaking when adopted, but now pose hurdles for solar growth. Funding for solar projects, which is supposed to come from utilities, cannot be accessed. Thousands of brownfields remain undeveloped, low-income communities must stay grid- dependent, and unemployed citizens can’t find solar jobs.

While the solar industry booms nationally, we in Illinois must cut costs, cut staff, and cross our fingers that strong policy will come soon. Clean energy has become yet one more statistic that Illinois is losing ground on. But we can easily fix that trend if we act now.

If we want to have citizens who are educated, skilled and employed, clean energy needs to be our priority. Illinois can become a literal powerhouse leading clean energy nationwide, providing employment to thousands of citizens and clean energy to thousands more. The workforce and desire are here. It’s the policy we need.

Lisa Albrecht, sales specialist,

Solar Service Inc.

Share cautiously

MEMO TO Politicians, Athletes, Entertainers, and Everyone Else: If you do not want to see your thoughts/utterances/written communications as headlines do not give them form through emails, Tweets, Snap Chats, Instagrams, Facebook, letters, voicemail or even carrier pigeon.

Let me be clear about the concept: Not every thought is golden and has to be shared. If you share anyway, expect that the world will be your judge.

Kay Catlin, St. Charles

Glaring truth

Neither the RNC or the DNC has offered the American public any real hope that the next Administration will alter the violent course we are on as a nation. In all the speeches and pontificating, one glaring truth is never spoken or considered. The only route out of the quagmire of the collapse of the economy and costly foreign entanglements is to abandon the insanity of endless war and embrace systemic reform to save our nation from further domestic violence.Neither party cares about that for there is only one party – the business party and the concerns of the poor are not on the agenda.What is on the agenda is fear of the other and abandonment of our core values.

Edward Juillard, Morgan Park

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