Reform Overview

Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot and the City of Chicago are dedicated to reforming our city’s public safety infrastructure to ensure all residents are safe and to address structural and historical inequities that have impacted our vibrant communities.

All City departments, including the Chicago Police Department, are embarking on systemic change, including change required by the Consent Decree, which is a monumental opportunity to build community trust and hold our City accountable for effective, lasting change. 

The Road to Police Reform in Chicago

Where We’ve Been.  Where We Are.  Where We’re Going.

Following the release of the video of the killing of Laquan McDonald in 2015, Chicago has made real progress toward police reform and accountability. While there is much left to do, policing in Chicago is on the road to reform. Here is a snapshot of reforms we’ve made, and what is coming next.

  • The independent Police Accountability Task Force releases its report to the City with specific findings and recommendations for change in five important areas:
    • Video Release Policies
    • De-escalation
    • Community & Police Relations
    • Early Intervention & Personnel
    • Legal Oversight & Accountability
    • Training
  • CPD supplied every officer responding to service calls with a Taser and Taser training as an alternate response to conflict incidents.
  • Chicago adopts a first-in-the-nation Video Release Policy, which requires the release of video, audio, and initial police reports in most major incidents within 60 days.
  • The Independent Police Review Authority (IPRA) is dissolved and replaced by the Civilian Office of Police Accountability (COPA). COPA’s mission is to investigate allegations of verbal abuse, excessive force, police shootings, and other types of misconduct. Among other things, COPA is legally required to investigate every fatal shooting by the police.
  • CPD commits to providing body worn cameras to all patrol officers and completes equipping them by December 2017. At that time, CPD had the largest deployment of BWCs in the nation, with cameras deployed to more than 7,000 members. (CPD policy now specifies when BWCs must be activated.)
  • Beginning in September 2016 through December 2018 all officers also underwent 16 hours of Force Mitigation Training.
  • The Office of the Public Safety Inspector General is created, an independent dedicated police oversight office within the Office of the Inspector General. The PSIG has published numerous audits, advisories and reviews and police and public safety subjects and has taken on investigations of misconduct by police and police oversight personnel.
  • After a year-long investigation, the U.S. Department of Justice releases its own report on the Chicago Police Department.
  • CPD begins establishing Force Review Unit to conduct headquarters-level post-action review of uses of force.
  • The City begins negotiating a Consent Decree with the Illinois Attorney General’s Office.
  • CPD updates its use of force policies, which places the sanctity of human life at the center of the policy and requires de-escalation techniques and annual training. The policies prohibit certain uses of force including using force as punishment or retaliation or in response to the exercise of 1st Amendment rights. The policies were created with input from subject matter experts and the public.
  • Between July 2017 and December 2018, all officers received 12 hours of training on the new use of force policy.
  • The City and the Illinois Attorney General complete a draft Consent Decree and publish it for two rounds of public comment. A federal judge hosts two days of public fairness hearings to solicit additional public input on the draft Consent Decree. 
  • CPD hires civilian lead internal auditor.
  • CPD partners with the Anti-Defamation League and West Side NAACP to start mandatory 8-hour in-service implicit bias training.
  • CPD hires its first risk manager, dedicated to identifying areas of risk to personnel and the public and assisting in implementing reforms.
  • CPD partners with the University of Chicago Crime Lab to host a two-day Mental Health Summit to bring awareness to officer wellness. CPD launches Crisis Intervention Advisory Committee, with about 100 crisis intervention stakeholders charged with giving written recommendations on the City’s CIT (Crisis Intervention Team) response.
  • Consent Decree goes into effect, providing a comprehensive roadmap for fundamental reform of CPD. It is one of the most extensive policing consent decrees in the nation geared toward achieving best practices.
  • CPD announces new mandatory in-service training requirements. By 2021, all sworn members will receive at least 40 hours of training per year, including on de-escalation, crisis intervention, cultural sensitivity, and the use of force policy.
  • All police officers assigned as School Resource Officers undergo additional training specific to School Resource Officers conducted by nationally recognized group the National Association of School Resource Officers (NASRO).  CPD releases new policy addressing roles and responsibilities of SROs.
  • CPD launches Use of Force Dashboard as part of efforts to increase transparency. The Dashboard gives detailed reports on the number of use of force incidents over time, information about who force is used against, location of incidents, and more.
  • Mayor’s Office hosts CPD/community working group to review and revise CPD policies on interactions with members of the transgender, intersex, and gender nonconforming community.
  • Crisis Intervention Advisory Committee (CIAC) releases Recommendations Report on ways the City and CPD can improve its response to individuals with mental or behavioral health challenges, which CPD adopts. CPD later completes a community-focused review of all CPD crisis intervention policies.
  • CPD launches Accountability Dashboard to provide public with interactive data on investigations into complaints of officer misconduct.
  • CPD implements a new policy requiring notification if an officer’s firearm is pointed at a person.

January 2020: CPD rolls out a revised search warrant policy and a related training. The policy requires CPD to conduct a detailed investigation before executing any warrant, which is intended to reduce mistakes and ensure the safety of the public and of the CPD officers executing the warrant.

January 2020: CPD announces creation of the Office of Constitutional Policing and Reform Management, a new organizational effort to prioritize reform efforts under the Consent Decree.

January 2020: Officers begin Custodial Escort Training, which re-asserted the Vision, Mission Statement, and Core Values of the Chicago Police Department while teaching best practices to be used while escorting someone in custody.

February 2020: CPD hosts community conversations to invite members of the public to discuss and provide feedback on 14 different policy topics such as crisis intervention and body worn camera use.

February 29, 2020: Updated Use of Force Policies implemented after consultation with and input from the Attorney General’s office and independent monitoring team. The eight revised policies include a duty to intervene and bans certain use of force tactics unless deadly force is authorized. The suite addresses all #8cantwait recommendations.

April 2020: The City awards $7.5M to more than 10 community-based street outreach and victim services organizations in communities at the highest risk of violence.

June 2020: Use of Force and School Resource Officer Working Groups begin. These are comprised of community members, subject matter experts, and individuals with lived experience, and chaired by a member of CPD and a member of the Consent Decree community coalition.

What’s coming next?

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Further Consent Decree Implementation

Commitment to full and effective compliance with the Consent Decree

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Civilian Oversight

Commitment to robust civilian oversight

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Police CBAs

Promoting changes to the Collective Bargaining Agreements


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Diversity in Hiring

Be the Change (Join CPD) 

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JISC Reform

Reviewing the Juvenile Intervention and Support Center

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Advocating for Police Licensing