COPA training begins for 45 new investigators

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Training is underway for the new Civilian Office of Police Accountability (COPA).

COPA is made up of community members, created to investigate police misconduct.

COPA will replace IPRA amid claims it failed to properly investigate or punish police misconduct and following the release of the Laquan McDonald shooting video in November 2015

Forty-five investigators are part of the six-week training program for the new agency that will replace the independent police review authority.

That includes Chicagoan Erica Sangster who said the birth of her son made her want to be a part of positive change.

"It took that milestone in my life for me to realize that what was doing, I'm a former prosecutor and former criminal defense attorney, I need to be more for him," she said.

Classes for the COPA Training Academy began this week as attendees learn the skill-based preparedness.

"Everything about the way we operate is going to be different. One of the core values were incorporating into the culture of the agency is the idea that our professionals need to have ongoing training on so were here today to kick off the initiation of that process," Sharon Fairley, COPA administrator, said.

Organizers said the classroom training provides hands-on instruction and subject matter from how to investigate fairly and efficiently to resolving alleged police misconduct.

The foundation of COPA follows calls to replace IPRA after the release of the Laquan McDonald shooting video in November 2015. Fairley, who is chief administrator for both COPA and the soon-to-be-defunct IPRA said the goal is to provide trust and transparency as well as training.

COPA will have a budget of roughly $14 million and 140 employees. This particular session will end on June 30 and investigators will have to pass a test in order to graduate. We're told COPA will be officially launched September 15 after the second session of COPA academy completes. null
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