The coalitions behind the Civilian Police Accountability Council (CPAC) and Grassroots Alliance for Police Accountability (GAPA) ordinances have united and created an ordinance to transform policing in Chicago. The two coalitions represent more than 100 organizations and tens of thousands of people. Hundreds of community members from neighborhoods across the city were directly involved in creating the ordinance that integrates the best thinking on police reform in Chicago and gives Chicago communities a powerful voice in determining what policing looks like. Aldermen who have led efforts for reform have been deeply involved, and the coalitions and aldermanic leaders are working to ensure that there is City Council support for the change Chicago needs.
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.
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.
HOW TO TAKE ACTION TO EMPOWER OUR COMMUNITIES:
Aldermen need to hear from you! If you support the right to democratic oversight of the Chicago police, tell your alderperson to stand with communities and ECPS!
To send your alderperson an automated email click here: bit.ly/SupportECPS
You can also call your alderperson and tell them to support ECPS. Find your alderperson's number here: https://chicago.legistar.com/People.aspx
Don't know who your alderperson is? Find out here: bit.ly/FindYourAlderman
We need volunteers like you to help us with these and other activities to support the CPAC legislation.