Is Chicago ready for reform in 2018's police department?

EMBED </>More Videos

Chicago has a 120 year history of trying to reform its police department. (WLS)

The late Chicago Alderman and ward boss Paddy Bauler is notorious for proclaiming "Chicago ain't ready for reform."

But tonight his famous tagline may be rendered ancient history if the police reforms announced on Friday are actually imposed.

Efforts to overhaul Chicago police conduct didn't start simply in 1968 after the Democratic Convention violence. There have been at least seven attempts.

The list of reform attempts goes back 120 years to 1898, when clout hiring of officers was the issue, and runs through deadly force complaints that prompted today's consent decree.

Former federal prosecutor Gil Soffer, ABC7's legal analyst, said even though the Department of Justice has backed out of the process, it will still have the full force of law.

"Ultimately it's presented to a court, to a federal judge, and the judge will review it and have the right to approve it, recommend changes to it or disapprove it," Soffer said.

That may be more than previous attempts:

-1898: Efforts aimed at overhauling CPD hiring practices and establishing a merit system were pushed by then Illinois Gov. John Tanner.

-1911: "Criminal class" connections to gamblers laced the CPD and then Mayor Carter Harrison Jr. backed reforms.

-1960: Reforms aimed at professionalizing CPD after the Summerdale burglary scandal, overseen by then Mayor Richard J Daley.

-1968: A Commission found the Democratic convention violence was a "police riot."

-1972: Brutality allegations were examined by a blue ribbon panel.

-1997: Officers indicted for robbing drug dealers, reforms ordered by Mayor Richard M. Daley.

-2015: The Laquan McDonald shooting resulting in the police accountability task force and today's consent decree.

Considering this is at least the 7th police reform effort since the late 1800s, the question is: Why is there any hope this one will succeed where apparently the others didn't?

"You never know until you see the outcome," said legal analyst Gil Soffer. "What you have here is a very thorough-going consent decree. More than 200 pages, a lot of detail, the requirement that an independent monitor be imposed on the parties and maintain very close control over this initiative, so there's reason to think this one will have staying power."
Related Topics:
chicago police departmentlaquan mcdonalditeamChicago
(Copyright ©2018 WLS-TV. All Rights Reserved.)