Mayor Lori Lightfoot proposes police department reforms after protests, but police union pushes back

Police union objects to civilian involvement in officer training
CHICAGO (WLS) -- There is some pushback to some of the police reforms Mayor Lori Lightfoot said she wants to see fast-tracked over the next three months, which she announced in her address to the city Tuesday night.

The mayor laid out her directives to Superintendent David Brown in the address, but there is now pushback from the Fraternal Order of Police, the union that represents officers, for plans to change some of the training for new recruits, particularly relating to community input.

RELATED: Mayor Lori Lightfoot calls for unity, police reform in wake of unrest after George Floyd's Death

Lightfoot is still negotiating over the idea of some type of civilian oversight of the police department, but she said she wants to change some of the training at the police academy to bring in civilians to provide some of the instruction. She did not offer specifics on what that instruction would entail.

That idea is not going over well at the Fraternal Order of Police.

"The training in the academy, I am 100 percent against that," said FOP President John Catanzara. "I do not believe civilians should be training sworn officers, that's their job. We do not have it in the military or anything else like that. It's obviously military training military, police should be training police."

Others were supportive. In Roseland, where some community members gathered to help clean up after looting, one volunteer praised the idea.

"It's a great idea to have the community go into the police academy and talk with the new officers or the officers that are there now, so they can get a better understanding of what we're going through in our wards in our city," said Donovan Robinson of Unity Day Chi.

But 9th Ward Alderman Anthony Beale, a frequent critic of the mayor, said in light of the looting sparked by the death of George Floyd, Lightfoot is in damage control mode.

"What you're seeing now is simply, things have gotten out of hand, things have, you know, gotten out of control and now we want to come up with something to do, police reform, because of all the pandemic and everything that's going on in the communities," he said.

The mayor dismissed that criticism Wednesday. As police move ahead with changing how recruits are trained, the head of the city council's public safety committee called the mayor's reforms a good start to begin improving community relations.

"These reforms are definitely a way to minimize that level of distrust," said Alderman Chris Taliaferro.

The other proposed reforms include having officers go on youth-led tours of their neighborhoods, mandatory crisis intervention and real wellness reform, ideas the head of the FOP supports.
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