Moving to counter an image of out-of-control cops, Chicago Mayor Richard Daley won passage yesterday of an ordinance overhauling the troubled police Office of Professional Standards and then named a California lawyer to run it, the Chicago Tribune reports. The City Council strengthened the measure beyond Daley’s original proposal and approved it by a vote of 48-0. Critics have contended that OPS has failed to root out officers guilty of brutality and other abuses; pressure mounted on Daley to act after two videotapes of off-duty officers beating civilians became public earlier this year.
“This is feel-good day for the mayor and the City Council members, but I have real misgivings about whether, at bottom, there’s any substantive change,” said Locke Bowman, legal director of the MacArthur Justice Center at Northwestern Law School. Daley’s choice to run the agency is an attorney who has been responsible for ensuring the thoroughness and integrity of investigations of alleged misconduct in the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department. Ilana Rosenzweig, 38, has been at the Office of Independent Review for the last six years. She said that “cities all over the country are dealing with these very [police misconduct] issues, and Chicago is implementing a new model that holds a lot of promise.”