Mayor Rahm Emanuel has asked for a “look into” the new detailed reports officers must fill out when they stop people — after a cop told him similar forms in the suburbs are “half the length as those in Chicago.”
The Fraternal Order of Police and rank-and-file cops have complained that officers must fill out far more information on the new “investigatory stop report” that replaced the department’s old “contact card” system on Jan. 1.
Officers say they’ve conducted far fewer stops this year because of the new reporting system. Meanwhile, crime has shot up.
Under state law and an agreement with the American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois, Chicago officers now must report far more information about stops — including whether they frisked the person and if an arrest was made.
A retired federal judge will review the Chicago reports to ensure the stops are passing constitutional muster.
A new state law also requires officers to provide people with a receipt when they stop them. Under that law, police departments across Illinois must fill out investigatory stop reports, but Chicago’s is far more detailed based on the ACLU agreement.
“It’s cumbersome,” said Dean Angelo, president of the FOP. “We’ve said it all along, it’s way beyond the scope of the requirements of the Senate bill and it’s far more involved than any law enforcement agency across the state.”
Emanuel spokesman Adam Collins said the mayor has met with cops across the city for months, stopping at roll calls to talk to them. Emanuel met recently with tactical officers in the Grand Central District and one cop told him the contact cards in neighboring suburbs are half the length of the reports in Chicago, Collins said.
“Most of the changes in the contact card were required under state law, but the mayor asked [police] Superintendent [John] Escalante to look into it given that CPD and the ACLU are in regular communication,” Collins said.
Last year, the ACLU pressed for the expanded reporting on investigatory stops in Chicago after releasing a report showing minorities have been predominately targeted for stops here.
ACLU spokesman Ed Yohnka wouldn’t say if the Chicago Police Department has asked for changes to the new investigatory stop reports.
“We are in regular communication with the city and CPD over implementing the agreement. There are issues we discuss. If there were changes, we would announce those,” Yohnka said.
The number of investigatory stop reports Chicago Police officers filled out in January plummeted 79 percent compared with the number of contact cards completed in January 2015, indicating officers have been making far fewer stops.
Chicago cops say they’ve avoided making stops because filling out the new contact cards keeps them off the street much longer than before the Jan. 1 change — and because they worry about getting into trouble if their stops are deemed to be improper.
Meanwhile, crime in Chicago has skyrocketed in many categories — including murder, sexual assault, robbery, aggravated battery, burglary and motor vehicle theft. Some cops have dubbed this year’s rise in crime “the ACLU effect.”
Angelo said he didn’t know if there is a link between fewer stops and higher crime. But asked if stops will go up if the reports were streamlined, he said, “I’m sure they won’t go down.”