WHAT WILL THE EMPOWERING COMMUNITIES FOR PUBLIC SAFETY ORDINANCE DO? 

The ordinance will fundamentally transform policing and public safety in Chicago by

(1) creating a  Community Commission on Public Safety,

(2) creating District Councils, and

(3) creating an opportunity  for additional democratic reform. 

WHAT IS THE COMMUNITY COMMISSION ON PUBLIC SAFETY? 

  • The Community Commission will be a seven-member body, nominated by elected community members,  selected by the Mayor, and confirmed by the City Council. 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 policy, but nothing will become policy without the Commission’s support. This will ensure  that policy reflects best practices and community values and needs. 

  • Promote community engagement and transparency. 

WHAT ARE DISTRICT COUNCILS? 

District Councils will be created in each of the City’s 22 police districts, and will be made of up three people  elected in regular municipal elections. The District Councils will have several key roles:

 

  • Build connections between the police and the community at the district level, where the community is a  true partner in generating and implementing public safety measures. 

  • Work with the community to get input on police department policies and practices. 

  • Hold monthly public meetings where residents can work with the police on local initiatives, and raise  and work to address concerns about policing in the district. 

  • Nominate members of the citywide Commission. The Mayor must choose Commissioners from a list of  nominees created by the District Councils. 

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HOW DOES THE ORDINANCE CREATE AN OPPORTUNITY FOR ADDITIONAL DEMOCRATIC REFORM? 

  • The 2022 primary ballot will include a binding referendum that asks Chicago voters if they want to directly elect the members of the Commission and expand its powers. 

  • If the referendum passes, the elected Commission would have the power to hire and fire the Police Superintendent and COPA Chief, and to select and remove Police Board members; the power to set the  Police Department budget; and the power to negotiate police union contracts.

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