A compromise is reached for a civilian police oversight committee in Chicago
At Friday’s city council meeting, Chicago’s public safety committee narrowly voted against a proposal that would have given more power to a civilian police oversight committee.
Local elected officials in Chicago struggled to reach a compromise over the authoritative powers of a civilian police oversight committee. Members of the Chicago City Council and Mayor Lori Lightfoot shared several competing proposals and many efforts to pass legislation stalled at the last city council meeting, CBS reports.
On Friday, the Chicago Public Safety Committee, which is part of the city council, voted against a proposal known as the Empowering Communities for Public Safety (ECPS) ordinance, which would have been introduced just 30 minutes before the meeting, the Chicago Sun Times, reports.
The order would give the Civilian Oversight Committee the power to hire and fire the Chicago Police Department superintendent and negotiate contracts with police unions as well as oversee CPD policy and budget, according to CBS 2. However, the city council came up with a 10 -9 vote against.
Lightfoot strongly opposed the ECPS order and proposed that she and future mayors retain the power to hire and fire the CPD superintendent, which is the opposite of what she did on campaign during his 2019 mayoral run, according to the Chicago Sun Times.
Some city council members say the ECPS ordinance was introduced too late to garner enough support. “I shouted it from the rooftop again and again and again about this surrogate and the cancellation of the referendum because I felt it would have a negative impact on our police service. I felt it would have a negative impact on our city,” said Alderman Chris Taliaferro. The 29th Ward representative said he believed the ordinance would have passed had it been introduced sooner, SCS reports.
Taliaferro also agreed with Lightfoot on which offices should have authority over the police department. “It should be up to the mayor to hire and fire the superintendent, the police commission and the COPA administrator. If she wants to take the blame for any good or bad that happens within the police department, she needs to be able to hire and fire the chief executive of those offices,” Taliaferro told the Chicago Sun Hour in May.
Although the vote against the ECPS ordinances means Lightfoot narrowly dodged a political defeat, a compromise with defined powers for the city’s civilian police oversight committee has still not been reached.
“I am disappointed with the outcome of not accepting the Ordinance Substitute given the amount of work and the fact that we have waited four years to vote on this issue,” said Alderman Harry Osterman who presented the ordinance at Friday’s city council meeting. “Unfortunately, Mayor Lightfoot and some of my colleagues have blocked an effort to change this ordinance that would lead to the passage of the criticism #ECPS arrangement. We will not be deterred in our fight to pass this crucial and long overdue legislation. #ECPSNow“, he added in a tweet on Friday.
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