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Report: Chicago PD’s reform effort negatively affected by staffing shortages

As a result of the staffing issues, “all 10 sections of the Consent Decree” are affected, the report said


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By Annie Sweeney
Chicago Tribune

CHICAGO — The Chicago police office that oversees the massive reform of the department is suffering from staffing shortages that could impede the court-ordered overhaul of the department, according to the latest report filed by an independent monitor.

Maggie Hickey, a former federal prosecutor who is the court-appointed independent monitor, released her latest report Wednesday afternoon on the Chicago police reform, which is sweeping and touches all parts of the department.

In a news release that accompanied the report, Hickey said staffing shortages are affecting the entire department, but she specifically emphasized the reform office in her comments.

“Reduced staffing in the Chicago Police Department, including its Office of Constitutional Policing and Reform, has slowed the City’s and CPD’s ability to engage with Chicago’s communities and demonstrate compliance with the Consent Decree,” the release said.

As a result of the staffing issues, “all 10 sections of the Consent Decree” are affected, the release said.

In her report, Hickey also noted that police departments across the country are suffering from staffing shortages.

The department issued a statement noting “significant progress” since the beginning of the reform work.

“The Chicago Police Department has been, and remains, committed to continuous improvement through reform. We have enhanced our efforts to implement practices and policies that support our officers and strengthen trust within the communities we serve,” it read. “We have made significant progress since the implementation of the consent decree, and we have not slowed down as we build on the foundation that has been set.”

Staffing issues in the department’s office of constitutional reform became an issue in August when Superintendent David Brown fired the executive director of the office, Robert Boik, days after Boik raised the very same concerns as the monitor — that shifting personnel out of the office to help patrol neighborhoods would stall movement on reform.

At the time, Brown had announced plans to shift personnel out of the reform office to address spikes in crime.

Boik asked Brown to reverse the decision, according to an email that was obtained by the Tribune. Boik said the shifts would result in 21 fewer instructors at the academy and the department would no longer be able to offer an eight-hour course this year on gender-based violence. He also raised concern about diminishing the crisis intervention training program, according to the email.

Boik was fired a day later.

CPD issued the following statement after Boik was fired: “Robert Boik is no longer a member of the Chicago Police Department. Beyond that, we do not comment on personnel matters.”

The Police Department has been under the sweeping consent decree since 2019, after a U.S. Department of Justice investigation of the department that came in the wake of the killing of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald by former Chicago police Officer Jason Van Dyke.

Reform, which takes years, moves through three levels of compliance, and training is considered key to making sure new policies are implemented and become part of regular police practice.

In the report, Hickey noted her concern that the staffing shortages would slow the process of demonstrating improved policing practices in Chicago.

“Staffing and resource issues, for example, have negatively affected the City’s and the CPD’s progress toward simultaneously and sufficiently providing training, supervision, and officer-wellness,” the report said. “This, in turn, has undermined the City’s and the CPD’s ability to demonstrate effective policing practices that respect the rights of all of the people of Chicago; build trust between officers and the communities they serve; and promote community and officer safety.”

©2022 Chicago Tribune.
Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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