September 15, 2017

Civilian Office of Police Accountability Officially Launches

Chicago takes the next big step on public safety reform

Mayor's Press Office    312.744.3334

Mayor Rahm Emanuel today joined city officials, community members and public safety reform advocates to launch the Civilian Office of Police Accountability (COPA), the next step Chicago's public safety reform efforts. The launch completes Mayor Emanuel's plan - which was based on community input - to eliminate the Independent Police Review Authority (IPRA) in favor of the new COPA.  

"The creation of the Civilian Office of Police Accountability is an historic moment for the City of Chicago and another meaningful mile-marker on the road to police reform, accountability and transparency," said Mayor Emanuel. “From implementing a new use of force policy, to equipping all officers with body cameras a year ahead of schedule, to creating a new independent oversight agency the City of Chicago is continuing to take steps to rebuild the bonds of trust and support proactive, professional policing in communities throughout Chicago.”

“COPA is an entirely new and independent police oversight agency filled with an experienced team ready to fulfil our mission,” said COPA Chief Administrator Sharon Fairley. “As a collective we know that to build trust, we must demonstrate to the community and members of the Department that we are dedicated to integrity as we conduct neutral and fair police misconduct investigations.”

“The most important public safety tool is trust,” said Representative Elgie Sims. "COPA represents an important moment in the relationship between law enforcement and the communities they protect and serve, its creation serves the dual purposes of holding those who break the rules accountable for their actions and improved public trust."

"I am proud of the work we have done to strengthen police accountability this year and today's COPA launch is a milestone in that progress,” said Ariel Reboyras, Chairman of the Committee on Public Safety. “Strengthening public safety requires strengthening public trust - this effort is another step in the right direction."

“The Civilian Office of Police Accountability represents a momentous milestone for every resident and every community in Chicago," said Alderman Roderick Sawyer. “COPA sets the high bar for accountability, transparency and integrity that all Chicagoans deserve. We look forward to working with this new agency to ensure transparent and independent investigations that strengthen both public trust and public safety.”

"The most important value for any police department is the sacred trust and relationship that exists between officers and the communities they serve - that is why CPD will always hold itself to the highest ethical and professional standards," said First Deputy Superintendent Kevin Navarro. "It is essential to our work to have an independent, civilian-led office to strengthen and build upon our culture of professionalism and accountability. We support this mission and are eager to work alongside COPA to best serve the citizens of Chicago and our dedicated police officers."

"You cannot fix a decades-old problem in one night or one year,” said Nkrumah English, President of Black United Fund. “The Civilian Office of Police Accountability is a significant step in the right direction, and we look forward to continuing to make meaningful progress on this issue."

“COPA is not a top-down approach to police accountability," Richard Wooten, COPA Community Advisory Council Member. "It was created with the input and voices of the people of Chicago and that is one reason I am confident it will be successful where the previous system fell short.”