The Chicago Police Department routinely delays reporting police-involved shootings longer than it should, waiting about half an hour on average to tell the city’s Independent Police Review Authority (IPRA) about shootings by officers last year, the Chicago Sun-Times reports. Last year, the agency opened investigations of 24 shootings by officers, including a suicide the police didn’t notify IPRA about for more than six hours. Taking that case out of the equation, the average notification time was about 34 minutes for police-involved shootings. IPRA investigates shootings by Chicago cops and allegations of police misconduct.
In at least three of the police-involved shootings, the department notified IPRA that shots were fired at an officer but failed to say that an officer had fired a gun, too. The police are supposed to alert the agency as soon as it’s clear that an officer fired a weapon, according to the watchdog agency. IPRA said officials in the police department and the city’s 911 emergency communications center have agreed to streamline the process for reporting police-involved shootings, aiming to reduce the average notification time on such shootings this year to 10 minutes. The Department of Justice’s report on the police department this month was critical of IPRA, which Mayor Rahm Emanuel will replace this year by a new agency, to be called the Chicago Office of Police Accountability. IPRA noted that complaints against officers fell in 2016, after four years of decreases. There also was a similar drop in arrests over the same period, which could suggest that complaints fell because citizens were having fewer interactions with cops.