Not enough being done to extract extremism, repair trust within Chicago Police Department: IG

Leah Hope Image
Tuesday, July 9, 2024
Not enough being done to extract extremism, repair trust in CPD: IG
Chicago's Office of Inspector General said not enough is being done to extract extremism and repair trust within CPD.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- A new report from Chicago's Office of Inspector General is raising concerns about alleged connections with extremist groups in the Chicago Police Department.

The inspector general said not enough is being done to extract extremism and repair trust.

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"We cannot ask people to trust a police department whose members are allowed to dabble in hatred and extremism," Chicago Inspector General Deborah Witzburg said.

Witzburg said Tuesday her recommendations to further investigate and oust officers with connections to extremist organizations have not been heeded.

"It's tremendously frustrating; this is a public safety issue. A police department that does not hold the trust of the public cannot effectively keep people safe," Witzburg said.

Last month, the IG recommended CPD reopen its bureau of internal affairs investigation of eight officers associated with the Oath Keepers.

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CPD declined, emphasizing there was a thorough investigation, and there was not evidence the accused officers actively participated in the Oath Keepers.

And, in April, the IG suggested the city convene a task force.

The mayor's office responded last month, saying the office is "fully committed to rooting out extremist, anti-government and bias organizations" and outlined efforts to address and prevent these issues, but did not agree to set up a task force.

"The city has fallen short of its commitments to address the issue of extremism in our police ranks," Witzburg said. "It's hard for me to imagine an issue more important than this, if we are serious about fostering public trust in the Chicago Police Department."

CPD said there is a stronger policy prohibiting members from associating with bias-based organizations.

And, on Tuesday, the mayor's office said they are continuing to work with CPD to build public trust.