IPRA leader talks about mayor's plan to scrap controversial agency

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For the first time, the woman who heads Chicago's Independent Police Review Authority is talking about the mayor's plan to scrap the controversial agency. (WLS)

For the first time, the woman who heads Chicago's Independent Police Review Authority is talking about the mayor's plan to scrap the controversial agency.

"I really see this as an opportunity for true, true reform," said IPRA Chief Administrator Sharon Fairley.

Fairley commented publicly for the first time since Mayor Rahm Emanuel's op-ed column outlining new oversight of police complaints. Fairley was appointed by the mayor in December.

"This is a huge opportunity to design a system that can really work, and work in a way that we all have confidence in it," Fairley said.

Monday's forum hosted by law firm Jenner and Block also included a member of the Police Accountability Task Force and the founder of the Invisible Institute, which created a public database of police complaints.

"We need to see that there is a robust, transparent, rigorous process now going forward," said Jamie Kalven, Invisible Institute.

"In order for the agency to be effective going forward, there has to be some community empowerment," said Randolph Stone, Police Accountability Task Force.

Aldermen who had previously proposed disbanding the agency want their feedback from the community included in the next version of Chicago's police accountability.

"The mayor is doing what I've already submitted to city council, and what my colleague Jason Ervin has submitted for the Police Review Board," said Ald. Leslie Hairston, 5th Ward.

"This is language that has been worked on by members of the community even before the Laquan McDonald case even came up. And so I think it would be disingenuous on the mayor's part not to include that language as part of what is being presented," said Ald. Jason Ervin, 28th Ward.

Mayor Emanuel is expected to introduce an ordinance outlining the changes to police oversight in June.

Fairley, who was handpicked by the mayor a few months ago, said she will stay on through the transition. In the meantime, IPRA is still investigating complaints with new oversight and policy.

Related Topics:
rahm emanuelchicago police departmentlaquan mcdonaldChicago - Downtown
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