Johnson Misses Deadline to Nominate Permanent Chicago Police Oversight Board

(WTTW News)(WTTW News)

Mayor Brandon Johnson missed the deadline to nominate seven people to serve on a permanent board of Chicagoans that will oversee the Chicago Police Department as part of a new era of oversight for the beleaguered law enforcement agency.

Thanks to our sponsors:

View all sponsors

It is not clear when Johnson will make his pick from among 15 people nominated by members of Chicago’s police district councils and send those seven names to the City Council for confirmation to serve four-year terms.

A statement from the mayor’s office said officials were “working with expediency” to select the “most qualified” people to serve on the commission.

Johnson’s office said he is committed to this “new, unprecedented model of police oversight, emphasizing the fact that empowering the community to have a voice in advancing systemic reform and community policing initiatives is pivotal to developing a public safety framework that serves all residents.”

Johnson has been repeatedly criticized for being slow to fill key positions at City Hall, especially those in his cabinet.

The mayor’s failure to ask the City Council to confirm permanent commissioners is the latest delay in the creation of the Community Commission for Public Safety and Accountability, and leaves an interim board picked by former Mayor Lori Lightfoot in August 2022 in place for at least another month.

The interim board took office eight months behind schedule, but wasted little time in tackling high-profile issues, including the selection of Chicago Police Supt. Larry Snelling to replace former top cop David Brown.

In addition, the board voted to scrap CPD’s gang database and to ban officers from associating with hate groups and extremist organizations. 

Interim President Anthony Driver Jr. led the fight against a ruling from an arbitrator that would upend the system used to discipline officers for serious misconduct by allowing individual officers to choose to have their punishment publicly decided by the Chicago Police Board or by an arbitrator behind closed doors.

A Cook County judge ruled that officers can empower an arbitrator to decide their fate, but that those sessions must be open to the public. That fight is likely far from over, with the deadline to appeal looming later this month.

Driver Jr., a South Side resident, is nominated to serve on the permanent commission, which is designed to give Chicagoans real control of the police department as part of an effort to build trust in officers and police brass and put an end to repeated allegations of misconduct.

Also nominated was Remel Terry, a West Side resident who serves alongside Driver on the interim commission.

The nominees were selected from 120 applicants by a 22-member nominating committee, made up of one elected police district council member from each of Chicago’s 22 police districts.

Giving a board of Chicagoans a real say in how the department operates is the final change demanded by advocates to be put in place in the wake of the 2014 police murder of 16-year-old Laquan McDonald.

The commission has the final say on policy for the Chicago Police Department, but the mayor can veto the commission’s decisions. In turn, the mayor’s action could be overridden by a two-thirds vote by the City Council.

The commission will have the power to hire the head of the Civilian Office of Police Accountability, known as COPA, which is the agency charged with probing police misconduct. In addition to conducting the search for a new police superintendent, when necessary, the commission is also charged with filling empty spots on the Chicago Police Board, which disciplines officers.

The commission will have the power to pass a resolution of no confidence in the superintendent and any member of the Chicago Police Board with a two-thirds vote. That could trigger City Council action.

Contact Heather Cherone: @HeatherCherone | (773) 569-1863 | [email protected]

Thanks to our sponsors:

View all sponsors

Thanks to our sponsors:

View all sponsors