Chicago police task force recommends wide range of reforms

AP News
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Posted: Apr 13, 2016 1:59 PM
Chicago police task force recommends wide range of reforms

CHICAGO (AP) — A task force that reviewed Chicago police practices in the wake of several police shootings of young black men has issued recommendations for sweeping changes, including hiring an inspector general and overhauling union contracts.

The panel, established by Mayor Rahm Emanuel, said the department must acknowledge decades of entrenched racism within its ranks. A draft executive summary called the videotaped killing of Laquan McDonald, a black teenager shot 16 times by a white police officer in 2014, a "tipping point" in the department's need for reform. The officer was charged with murder about a year later, after a judge ordered that the squad-car video be publicized.

Here are 10 of the task force's key recommendations:

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— Dismantle the existing Independent Police Review Authority, which reviews police misconduct allegations, and replace it with a civilian agency that's "fully transparent and accountable."

— Hire an inspector general for public safety who would independently monitor and audit the department and its policing strategies, including for racial bias.

— Overhaul collective bargaining agreements that have "impediments to accountability," such as requirements to destroy complaint records.

— Establish a "mental health critical response unit" and make changes to the 911 system so officers and dispatchers are better prepared to deal with mental health issues.

— Create the position of deputy chief of diversity and inclusion within the department.

— Use data to create an intervention system so the department can identify problem officers earlier.

— Make officer complaints and discipline histories available online.

— Expand the use of officer body cameras.

— Implement a written video release policy for police shootings.

— Create a hotline run by a third-party for Chicago Police Department members, civilians and officers, to file complaints.