Gov. Rauner studying police consent decree and how to support ‘our heroes’
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Gov. Bruce Rauner on Monday said he’s still evaluating a consent decree draft that would govern the Chicago Police Department’s reform efforts, but stressed that police officers need better equipment, more training and enhanced relationships with the communities they serve.
The Republican governor stood alongside Illinois State Police troopers and Chicago Police officers at the Chicago Police Memorial in front of Soldier Field as he signed legislation that creates a new Illinois Lottery scratch-off game with proceeds to go towards police memorials, support for the families of officers killed or severely injured in the line of duty and for protective vest replacements for officers.
Rauner told reporters his “team” is still evaluating the consent decree that was made public on Friday. The document seeks to regulate cops in their use of force and offer more transparency to the public when police are disciplined. It would also give police more training and mental health when needed. The agreement is a byproduct of a federal lawsuit brought against the city by Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan after a damning federal investigation of the CPD following the release of the Laquan McDonald shooting video in late 2015.
“We’ll be having opinions in the future about the detail[s] of it,” Rauner said. “Our police officers are our heroes. They put their lives on the line to keep us all safe and they deserve our fullest support and respect,” he said, adding there must be efforts to “do everything we can to enhance the equipment.”
Rauner, too, said there must be more training for officers and more work to “enhance community relations between our officers and the members of the community that they serve.”
Rauner declined to comment on which mayoral candidate would be best prepared to handle what will come next in consent decree proceedings. Members of the public can provide input for a 21-day period ending Aug. 17. The decree will be accessible online at chicagopoliceconsentdecree.org.
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“I will not comment on specific candidates for mayor. I will say again, as I have publicly in the past, I’m deeply disappointed by Mayor Emanuel’s performance on almost every level,” Rauner said of his friend and onetime ally. Both are on the polar opposite sides of the political spectrum and locked in contentious re-election campaigns.
Chicago Fraternal Order of Police President Kevin Graham last week blasted the consent decree as “illegal and invalid.” He plans to fight the decree in court.
At the bill signing on Monday, Graham said the FOP’s Chicago lodge hasn’t been contacted by either Democrat J.B. Pritzker or Rauner for an endorsement in November’s election.
“We have not met with both of those individuals yet,” Graham said. “And certainly if they seek our endorsement we will meet with them and we’ll see what happens. I don’t have a crystal ball. They’ll first have to ask for an endorsement.”
Graham says the FOP has met with both former Chicago Police Supt. Garry McCarthy and former Chicago Public Schools CEO Paul Vallas as they seek endorsements in the February mayoral race. Graham said both candidates discussed the consent decree, and both were “supportive of the police and in keeping the public safe.”