Independent monitor provides update on CPD compliance with consent decree

An independent monitor said the Chicago Police Department is making improvements in its compliance to the consent decree, though it still has a long way to go.

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An independent monitor said the Chicago Police Department is making improvements in its compliance to the consent decree, though she noted it still has a long way to go.

Maggie Hickey, a former federal prosecutor and court-appointed monitor, shared an update on the state of the consent decree Wednesday evening on a video conference call.

During her presentation, after which she took questions from community members who tuned in, Hickey said CPD is in full or partial compliance with a little more than half the consent decree, or in compliance with 266 paragraphs of the 507 the independent monitoring team has assessed.

Rebuilding trust among the general public and data collection and analysis continue to be works in progress for CPD, according to Hickey. She said the department’s community engagement is “still not sufficient” and called the CPD a “very cumbersome organization when it comes to data.”

“I think that everywhere you could run into a problem on data CPD has those problems,” she said.

Hickey said community engagement goes far beyond connecting with the people who attend the Chicago Alternative Policing Strategy meetings.

“Those people always attend, but the hardest to reach people — the people that really don’t want to engage with CPD — those are the voices that they absolutely need to hear,” Hickey said. “That’s the challenge, but we continue to challenge them that they need to find innovative and creative ways in order to continue to engage the community because without engaging the community, they are never going to be able to build trust.”

Hickey said CPD’s “great data challenges” are making it harder for the department to come up with best evidence-based practices.

“So we are continually working with them so that they can have data so that we know how many foot pursuits actually happened in a year; what were the results of those foot pursuits; how many ended up in apprehensions; how many were their weapons recover?” Hickey said. “Right now, as we work with CPD, they cannot answer the data questions regarding foot pursuits that we’re asking them.”

Hickey praised the improved staffing and better allocation of resources for the education and training division, crisis intervention teams, strategic initiatives division and the audit division.

“All of those are super important and vital to the success of CPD,” said Hickey, who noted the audit division is “critical to CPD because they must be able to audit themselves so that they know where their inadequacies and inefficiencies are.”

The consent decree took effect in 2019 after a U.S. Justice Department investigation into CPD in response to outrage over a video showing then-Chicago police officer Jason Van Dyke fatally shooting 17-year-old Laquan McDonald 16 times. Van Dyke was released earlier this month after serving three years in prison for the murder of McDonald.

The independent monitoring team is constantly evaluating CPD’s reform and releases a report every six month. The next report is expected to drop at the end of March.

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