In an effort to better align with consent decree mandated reforms, the Chicago Police Department is reaching out to the public to gather feedback on ways it can improve policing policies around issues including officer interactions and language barriers.
The CPD on Thursday launched a series of public surveys that will be open for the next month. The goal, according to the department, is to hear what Chicago residents have to say about several policing policies and make adjustments based on those responses.
“Policing fairly and without bias is vital to fostering positive relationships between CPD and the communities we serve,” Deputy Superintendent Barbara West, who oversees the CPD Office of Constitutional Policing and Reform, said in a statement. “In order for our policies to be truly effective, they must reflect the community’s input, feedback and shared experiences.”
The seven surveys cover the following topics: response to hate crimes, prohibition of sexual misconduct, limited English proficiency/language access, interactions with religious communities, interactions with people with disabilities, interactions with youth (ages 18 and over), and interactions with children and youth (under 18).
Beyond the new surveys, the CPD is also planning to organize community focus groups to further discuss those topics and create “a collaborative space for sharing feedback.”
These announcements come after the department this summer made two new hires with its first Americans with Disabilities Act Compliance officer and language access coordinator. Both those positions were mandated under the consent decree, which brought federal oversight to the CPD.
Through the first year of that decree, the police department had missed more than two-thirds of its required deadlines, according to a June report from consent decree Independent Monitor Maggie Hickey.
Focus group participants will be chosen at random, according to the CPD, with a focus on accurately reflecting the full diversity of Chicago’s communities and residents. Those who are selected to attend a focus group will be directly contacted by CPD.
The CPD previously hosted community meetings this year to gather feedback on policies including use of force, crisis intervention, response to hate crimes and body-worn camera use, each of which must be reviewed and revised under the consent decree.
Members of the public have until Oct. 15 to complete the online surveys. Those interested in attending a focus group can complete the online submission form.