Chicago Inches Closer to Implementing Police Reforms

(Source: Asher Heimermann/Wikipedia)

CHICAGO (CN) – Chicago police officers may soon be required to report every time they point a firearm at someone as part of a consent decree that will dictate new police department policies.

The Chicago Police Department has been working towards reform measures since last year, when Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan sued the city, asking the federal court to help with an agreement.

Court proceedings have been on hold since the two parties agreed to work on the consent decree together.

The litigation stay was partially lifted last week so that the firearm issue could be resolved, but a settlement was reached instead.

According to an announcement from Madigan’s office Thursday, a provision has been added to the draft consent decree that will require officers to report each time they point a firearm at someone and the incident will be reviewed to ensure the officer’s actions complied with CPD policy.

“Knowing when police officers point their guns at someone will allow CPD to improve officer and community safety,” Madigan said in a statement. “I believe this is critical in achieving true reform of the Chicago Police Department.”

Outgoing Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel said, “Chicago is on the road to reform, and there will be no U turns.”

“This consent decree will cement the reforms we have made in recent years and drive future reforms in the years ahead – strengthening or police department and improving public safety,” he said in a statement.

CPD Superintendent Eddie Johnson said at a press conference Thursday afternoon, “We fought to ensure that we did not create impediments to officers’ ability to do their jobs effectively,”

“Our goal throughout this process was to ensure that we found the best mechanism for the officer to document their encounter without being a burdensome distraction to the important work they do,” he said.

Although problems with discrimination and brutality within the CPD are old news, the loud call for reform came after a rash of police shootings swept not only the city, but the whole country.

In Chicago, the issue came to a head with the public release of a video showing Officer Jason Van Dyke shooting and killing 17-year-old Laquan McDonald in 2014.

Van Dyke was charged with murder and his trial is underway this week.

U.S. District Court Judge Robert M. Dow Jr. will continue to oversee the finalization of the consent decree. Public comments on the draft will be heard in court on Oct. 24 and 25.

Revisions will be made based partly on that input. Once the decree is finalized, it will be enforced by the federal court.

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