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Mayor Rahm Emanuel today announced the members of the Civilian Office of Police Accountability (COPA) Chief Administrator search committee, taking a step forward in the selection process for the next leader of the civilian oversight agency.
“Community trust, built on systems of fairness and engagement, is critical to public safety, and we must continue the work started when COPA launched just over a month ago,” said Mayor Emanuel. “I thank this group for lending their time, experience and knowledge to the city of Chicago and for helping to select the most qualified candidates who are dedicated to the goals of strong accountability and independence.”
The 20-member search committee, consisting of advocacy leaders, members of the COPA Advisory Council, faith leaders, academics and attorneys, will conduct a local and national search to find the next permanent COPA Chief Administrator. The Mayor’s selection will be from a list of names that the search committee submits. The final selection will be subject to the approval by City Council, as dictated in the Police Accountability ordinance, before the Chief Administrator starts serving out the remainder of the inaugural four-year term, which began with the launch of COPA on September 15th. Upon City Council approval of the next COPA leader, the search committee will disband.
“Trust is our first and best public safety tool,” said Z Scott, Partner at Foley & Lardner LLP. “I have complete confidence that this search committee will promote our city’s highest values and strengthen COPA’s mission to rebuild public trust and restore accountability to the police department.”
In October 2016 City Council passed Mayor Emanuel’s Police Accountability Ordinance establishing COPA, following public hearings, discussions with Council members, feedback from residents across the city and the Police Accountability Task Force report. At the request of community leaders, a community-led process spearheaded by the Grassroots Alliance for Police Accountability has also been established. That process may inform further steps by the City Council concerning chief administrator vacancies in the future.
“COPA was created with community input and this search process will be a community effort,” said Alderman Ariel Reboyras, Chairman of the City Council Committee. “This committee represents Chicago’s diversity, and we are confident it will lead to the selection of committed and capable Chief Administrator.”
Mayor Emanuel previously named the chairs of COPA Chief Administrator Search Committee. They are Paula Wolff, Director of the Illinois Justice Project, Z Scott, Partner at Foley & Lardner LLP and Alderman Ariel Reboyras, Chairman of the City Council Committee on Public Safety. During the search, retired-Judge Patricia Banks will continue to serve as interim Chief Administrator.
“Trust between police and community is built on strong accountability measures that are respected by both community and police,” said Paula Wolff, Director of the Illinois Justice Project. “I am confident we will find a new Chief Administrator who knows that the goal of any strong accountability system is the vigorous protection of the rights of all our residents, whether they are civilians or sworn officers.”
The members of the COPA Chief Administrator Search Committee include:
Bonnie Allen, Executive Director, Chicago Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights
Eddie Bocanegra, Senior Director, READi Chicago, Heartland Alliance
Dwayne Bryant*, Founder & CEO, Inner Vision International
Jeffrey Cramer, Managing Director, Berkeley Research Group
Ramon Estrada*, General Counsel, Chicago Housing Authority
Emmett Farmer*, Affected family member
Dean Creasie Finney Hairston*, Dean, UIC, Jane Addams College of Social Work
Deborah Harrington, Board of Directors, BPI
Kim L. Hunt, Executive Director, Pride Action Tank
Dorri McWhorter, CEO, YWCA Metropolitan Chicago
Rev. Dr. Johnny Miller*, Pastor, Mt. Vernon Baptist Church
Michelle Morales, Executive Officer, Mikva Challenge
Xavier Ramey, CEO, Justice Informed
Steven Saltzman*, Civil Rights Attorney
Pastor Ron Taylor, Executive Director, United Congress of Community and Religious Organizations
Remel Terry*, 2nd Vice President, NAACP Westside
Richard Wooten*, Gathering Point Community Council and former CPD officer
*member of the COPA Community Advisory Council