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Finalists for Chicago Police monitor speak at public hearings

Jeff Cramer (left) with the Coar Monitoring Team, speaks at a public hearing in Chicago for the selection of a CPD independent monitor, Saturday, Nov. 3, 2018. | Tyler LaRiviere/Sun-Times

The four finalists in the search for an independent monitor for the Chicago Police Department made their cases to residents in two public forums Saturday as they vie to reform the department.

The teams comprise of experts on community policing, former prosecutors and others with experience in criminal justice or research.

A morning session drew about 50 people with questions from the audience about restoring trust in police and the need to collaborate with the Civilian Office of Police Accountability.

Brian Maxey, the former chief operating officer of the Seattle Police Department representing the Police Foundation Monitoring Team, says COPA and the chosen team must collaborate to establish reforms.

Then later, he said, once the department has shown it’s following the team’s recommendations and “Chicago is ready to walk alone,” it will be COPA’s responsibility to see that the department carries out the reforms.

Jeff Cramer, a member of the Coar Monitoring Team and a former Assistant U.S. Attorney who helped indict Jon Burge, said the culture isn’t “going to change in a week or a month or six months, certainly not here in Chicago,” but with the right monitoring team, the department can change, he said.

The four finalists for the job are the Coar Monitoring Team, a Chicago-based firm fronted by former U.S. District Judge David Coar; the Police Foundation Monitoring Team headed by Rick Braziel, the inspector general for the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department and Maxey; Schiff-Hardin CNA, a collaboration between Chicago-based law firm Schiff Hardin LLC and non-profit research firm CNA headed by former federal prosecutor and state Inspector General Maggie Hickey; and StoneTurn Monitoring Team, the New York-based team led by former federal prosecutor Katherine Lemire.

The consent decree is a settlement between the city and Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan’s office that is intended to address a pattern of civil rights abuses by the Police Department — those abuses were reported in a Department of Justice probe that began after the 2014 shooting of Laquan McDonald by Officer Jason Van Dyke.

U.S. District Judge Robert Dow will make the final selection, with the city proposing an annual cost to run the team not to exceed $2.85 million.

The monitoring team will work with the department, recommending reforms and making sure the department falls in line with the mandates stated in the consent decree. They will also report CPD’s progress to Dow and the public.

Andy Grimm contributed to this report.