Chicago City Council Approves Civilian Police Oversight Ordinance

Without a voice to spare, city council on Wednesday approved the creation of a new Chicago Police Oversight Board that will eventually include 66 newly elected members.

The vote was 36 to 13. A thunderous applause followed.

Mayor Lori Lightfoot hailed the measure as historic.

“The responsibilities entrusted to this commission will provide our residents with an important opportunity to hold our police service to account,” she said.

Opponents have also claimed responsibility, noting the huge increase this year in shootings and murders.

“Where we don’t put the blame is on our communities, all of our communities – 6,700 people slaughtered in the last 18 months!” declared the alderman of the 41st district Anthony Napolitano.

Napolitano is a former Chicago police officer, as is West Side 29th Ward Alderman Chris Taliaferro, who was the chief architect of Wednesday’s changes. He plans more to come.

“The end process has to be a better city than Chicago,” said Taliaferro. “The end process has to be a better Chicago Police Department.”

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Wednesday’s vote calls for the election of three board members from each of Chicago’s 22 police districts. They will each receive $ 6,000 per year. These elected members will then work with the mayor to choose a seven-member oversight committee. This panel will then work with the mayor and city council to select a new police commissioner.

While they can also recommend the firing of a superintendent, that decision is ultimately left to the mayor.

Lightfoot claimed the measure made Chicago a national leader in police reform.

“You are going to have people in the community who will be engaged with their neighbors, but also with the police to be able to solve the problems, but also to throw a flag if there is something wrong in a neighborhood or a neighborhood” , said Lightfoot. .

Critics, including the president of the Fraternal Order of the Police, said there are already a dozen different agencies overseeing officers in Chicago. They singled out local, state and federal agencies.

Next, the city council will submit 14 names to the mayor who will appoint seven to an initial oversight committee, which will then serve until members are elected in the 2023 municipal elections.


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