CPD database of misconduct files to allow search by officer name

The Chicago Police Department will soon bolster its public database of misconduct investigation files to make the records more searchable, leaders of the CPD and Community Commission for Public Safety and Accountability announced Thursday.

CPD’s Accountability Dashboard currently allows searches by Internal Affairs case number, but the department will soon expand the dashboard to let members of the public query by an officer’s name or badge number, as well.

“We need to explain what good, constitutional policing looks like. We need to be clear and open when we get it right and when we get it wrong,” CPD Superintendent Larry Snelling said in a statement. “And when someone makes a complaint about one of our officers, they deserve to know how that case got resolved. Transparency benefits everyone and makes us a better department.”

Beyond the enhanced search features of the dashboard, CPD also planned to publicly release “the full closing summary reports for all investigations,” which detail the evidence reviewed in a case and BIA’s findings and recommendations.

While the Civilian Office of Police Accountability serves as the main intake for all CPD misconduct complaints, more than half of those received in 2023 — 3,007 out of 5,281 — were referred to CPD Internal Affairs.

“This is a huge step forward for transparency. BIA handles some of the most serious cases of alleged police misconduct and for decades, we’ve been kept in the dark about those cases,” CCPSA President Anthony Driver said in a statement. “But going forward, we’ll have much more information about BIA’s decisions in individual cases, and that will allow us to better understand the accountability system and assess how well it is working.”

The announcement comes about two months after a Cook County judge ruled that CPD officers accused of serious misconduct have the right to have their cases adjudicated either by a third-party arbitrator or the Chicago Police Board. However, the judge ruled, those arbitration hearings would remain public.

The Fraternal Order of Police, the union representing rank-and-file CPD officers and detectives, has indicated it will appeal the ruling. Union president John Catanzara did not respond to a request for comment Thursday.

While the fight over police discipline hearings has carried on, the City Council last year approved the lion’s share of the new collective bargaining agreement with the FOP. The new package provides CPD officers with a 20% raise over four years, while also creating a new disciplinary mechanism to more quickly adjudicate minor misconduct cases.

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