Chicago Police Department has road map to improve homicide investigations with new report

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Chicago police now have a long list of recommendations to improve the way the department handles homicide cases from top to bottom.

A nonprofit studied the issue and announced the report's findings during a news conference with the police superintendent and mayor.

"I am not going to whitewash it and say it was a positive report, because it wasn't," said Chuck Wexler, executive director of the Police Executive Research Forum, the nonprofit behind the report. "The difference is you have a road map now of where you are going, and you have folks - the mayor and superintendent - who are committed to fixing it. They are not in denial."

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The report makes numerous recommendations, including creating a homicide unit in each area.

"Number one, there should be a designated homicide unit. It's not that detectives in Chicago don't work homicides, but there should be a designated unit in each of the bureaus," Wexler said.

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The report also recommends increasing the number of detectives, and developing a consistent protocol for assigning and investigating homicide cases.

From the top, there must be numerous changes, including reversing a move made by former Mayor Rahm Emanuel and former Superintendent Garry McCarthy. In 2012, the two implemented a change that would impact investigations across the city. They restructured the police areas, cutting them back from five to three areas. The report recommends returning to a five-area system.

"You had detectives pushed into three areas and some of them didn't have desks, some of them didn't have computers," Wexler said. "It really wasn't thought out well."

Along with changing the areas map, the report also recommends the following changes, in part:

1. Increase staffing

2. Have detectives work cases start to finish

3. Create written policies and procedures for homicide investigations.

4. Improve strategy for handling nonfatal shootings

5. For a Cold Case Unit

6. Revise promotional exam

7. Establish formal process for promoting homicide detectives and supervisors

For a full list of recommendations and the report, please click here: https://home.chicagopolice.org/homicideclearancereport2019.
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