Police district councils will give a voice to communities harmed by bad policing

That police misconduct is common should cause us all to think critically about the entire system, and yet we keep paying settlements with hundreds of millions in taxpayer money instead of fixing the cause.

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Demonstrators march though the Loop on Jan. 30 in response to the death of Tyre Nichols, who died after being beaten by Memphis police during a traffic stop.

Demonstrators march though the Loop on Jan. 30 in response to the death of Tyre Nichols, who died after being beaten by Memphis police during a traffic stop.

Charles Rex Arbogast/AP Photos

Merciless. Devastating. Gratuitous. Systemic failure. These are just some of the words lifted into our lexicon this week — and seemingly nearly every week.

Tyre Nichols should still be with us. That we learn about new Tyres nearly every week is horrific. No amount of thoughts and prayers will turn back time or erase the collective trauma that Black people feel at our ancestral core: That it could have just as easily been me.

In Chicago, only a small percentage of misconduct reports are sustained, which is questionable at best. That the reports spike in communities of color and LGBTQ+ neighborhoods is unacceptable. That police misconduct is regular should cause us all to think critically about the entire system, and yet we keep paying settlements with hundreds of millions in taxpayer money instead of fixing the cause.

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That is why the police district councils are so critical.

Under the right leaders, police district councils can give a megaphone to communities that have too often been pushed to the back of the line. They can hold local police accountable for adhering to Office of Inspector General recommendations and Law Department data requests. They can shine a spotlight on disproportionate enforcement and under-investigated reports of misconduct.

District council members must also work in partnership with police officers to move the needle on reform and ensure everyone, in every community, has reliable safety. They can create new opportunities to build understanding between police officers and residents. They can find common ground around consent decree mandates, such as the supervisory span of control, training requirements and officer mental health; and can impact residents and police personally.

So yes, let us cry out Tyre Nichols’ name, but let it not be in vain. Let this be the last time we are forced to ‘say their’ name. Let’s turn that pain into purpose and that purpose into policy.

Julienn “Julie” Kaviar, chief of staff, Cook County Commissioner Scott Britton; candidate for 19th Police District Council

Chicago Fire soccer facility won’t get in the way of affordable housing

I appreciate David Roeder’s enthusiasm for the latest phase of the Roosevelt Square mixed-income, mixed-use community that just broke ground on the site of the former ABLA public housing development. But Mr. Roeder’s article repeats a fundamental misconception that the proposed new Chicago Fire training facility and youth academy will result in fewer public, affordable and market-rate housing units returning to the area.

CHA and its development partner, Related Midwest, are committed to delivering all the pledged housing units to the Near West Side and have identified other vacant CHA and city-owned land in the area where this new housing will be built. This is a large part of the reason that CHA residents, Ald. Jason Ervin, and so many others support this project, as Mr. Roeder notes.

CHA strongly believes that all families, including those who need housing subsidies, thrive in vibrant mixed-income, mixed-use communities. The proposed Chicago Fire facility will secure substantial funds to improve aging public housing at ABLA Brooks and Loomis Courts while creating employment opportunities that will benefit all community members. It will serve as a catalyst for future growth in the area.

Tracey Scott, chief executive officer, Chicago Housing Authority

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