New Civilian Commission to Oversee Chicago Police

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The Chicago Police Department will be overseen soon by a commission of publicly elected community members, according to a recent ordinance overwhelmingly approved by the City Council, a development that strips city hall of the power it has wielded for decades over the scandal-prone department, reports the Washington Post. Frank Chapman of the Chicago Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression and nearly 100 others formed a coalition this year to craft the ordinance with several council members.

The new Community Commission for Public Safety and Accountability is considered a more direct pathway to regain public trust in the wake of an unproductive court-mandated federal consent decree. The commission will consist of seven community members elected to four-year terms beginning in 2023. Two must be practicing lawyers, while others should have backgrounds in areas such as civil rights, mental health and social work. Each will receive a $12,000 stipend. The commission will be involved in the hiring and any firing of the police superintendent, members of the police board and the chief administrator of the Civilian Office of Police Accountability, which oversees complaints of misconduct. The group will also develop restorative-justice programs. The commission’s annual cost of $3.5 million will be covered by the police department’s budget.

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