Chicago Police Department will implement task force reforms

Thursday, April 21, 2016
Mayor will implement some task force reforms
Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson announced coming changes to the Chicago Police Department.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson announced coming changes to the way police shootings and alleged misconduct are investigated within the Chicago Police Department. The reforms stem from recommendations made in the scathing report from the Police Accountability Task Force.

Last week, the task force released a 190-page report listing several problems within the department, including racism, excessive force and a code of silence.

READ: Police Accountability Task Force's 18-page executive summary

READ: Police Accountability Task Force's full 190-page report

"The police department and the way they're going to approach the public and the way they're going to interact with the public is going to be different," said Mayor Emanuel.

Sitting alongside Supt. Johnson, the mayor promised the city would implement as soon as possible about one-third of the 76 recommendations made by the task force. He said the immediate steps to change police-community relations would focus on three core goals.

"Those interim steps we're adopting that are about more transparency, more public involvement and a different type of training for the personnel involved in the investigations," Emanuel said.

CPD will depend on a stronger Internal Affairs division to hold cops accountable. The superintendent hopes to reduce citizen complaints with better training, as well as having officers wear body cameras.

"It will give us a venue to tell our side of the story when we encounter different situations," Supt. Johnson said.

Emanuel said he will wait for a Justice Department investigation to conclude before considered the task force's recommendation to abolish the Independent Police Review Authority and replace it with a more transparent civilian agency.

"You want to do it once from the get go," he said. "You don't want to do a set of changes, the heavy life, and then six months later say no, you got it wrong."

Greg Livingston, an activist and critic of Emanuel, said dismantling IPRA cannot wait and that the mayor should implement all task force recommendations.

"It's like we tell 'em in church: either you like the Bible or you don't. Here's the people you selected. Take the report, Mayor. Implement it immediately and let's see what happens. All of it," Livingston said.

The mayor did not rule out abolishing IPRA entirely. The Justice Department investigation has an indefinite time frame.