overview

The Ordinance

In July 2021, the Chicago City Council passed an ordinance creating two new bodies. (1) A citywide Community Commission for Public Safety and Accountability that has powers to advance systemic reform. (2) District Councils, elected in each police district, will work to improve policing and all forms of public safety in the district. The Commission and District Councils will bring police officers and Chicago residents together to plan, prioritize, and build mutual trust; strengthen the police accountability system; give Chicagoans a meaningful new role in oversight; and explore and advance alternative effective approaches to public safety.

What is the Community Commission for Public Safety & Accountability?

The Community Commission has seven members. They will be nominated by elected District Council members, selected by the Mayor, and confirmed by the City Council. Commissioners will serve four-year terms. The Commission will have public meetings at least once a month. The Commission will have several key powers:

 

·       Play a central role in selecting and removing the Police Superintendent, COPA Chief Administrator, and Police Board members. No one will be selected for one of these positions without the Commission’s support.

·       Set Police Department policy. Both the Police Department and the Commission can draft Police Department General Orders, but General Orders will not become policy without the Commission’s support. The ordinance sets out a collaborative policymaking process designed to build consensus and increase support for CPD policies.

·       Establish goals and evaluate progress for CPD, COPA, and the Police Board. This will help ensure that every year, public safety leaders prioritize significant initiatives that address important public interests and concerns. Leaders will also be assessed based on how well they have advanced those key initiatives.  

·       Promote community engagement and transparency.


What are the District Councils?

Each of the City’s 22 police districts has a District Council, made of up three people elected in regular municipal elections. The first District Council elections were in February 2023, when Chicagoans also elected alderpersons and the mayor. District Councilors serve 4-year terms. 

 

The District Councils will have several key roles:

 

·       Build stronger connections between the police and the community at the district level, so that community members can have a direct role in holding police accountable and trust between community and police can grow. 

·       Hold monthly public meetings, where residents can work with one another on local initiatives rooted in community concerns and priorities. Residents who are engaged in community-based public safety efforts like violence interruption and restorative justice are encouraged to attend, meet each other and collaborate. Meetings are also an opportunity for community members to raise and work to address concerns about policing in the district. 

·       Work with the community to get input on police department policies and practices and provide that input to the Commission. This ensures that the Commission’s work will be based on what people in neighborhoods across the city are concerned about.

·       Nominate members of the Community Commission. One of the 3 District Councilors will serve on the citywide Nominating Committee. This Committee’s role is to interview candidates for Community Commissioner and make nominations to the mayor. Community members can use the monthly meetings to voice their opinions on this process. 

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