City of Chicago, Office of the Mayor
May 19, 2021
CHICAGO- Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot alongside Chairman of the Finance Committee, Scott Waguespack, and Chairman of the Public Safety Committee, Christopher Taliaferro today, announced the introduction of an ordinance to create a public database of closed police disciplinary investigations. This historic ordinance will create an unprecedented publicly available dataset of all police disciplinary cases since 2000. The publication of this disciplinary information is the next critical step in Mayor Lightfoot’s ongoing work to overhaul transparency and accountability for the Chicago Police Department.
“In order to mend the wounded relationship between the Chicago Police Department and the communities they serve, it is critically important that we double-down on our efforts to root the value of transparency within the department,” said Mayor Lightfoot. “This historic piece of legislation will help to do just that and give the public an important opportunity to see how far we’ve come and weigh in on what we still must do to bring about full police accountability. I want to thank Chairman Waguespack and Chairman Taliaferro for partnering with me on this ordinance and putting our city that much closer to achieving true police reform.”
“This database is long overdue, and I thank Mayor Lightfoot and Chairman Taliaferro for their leadership and support on this important issue,” said 32nd Ward Alderman and Chairman of the Finance Committee, Scott Waguespack. “Shining a light on police misconduct and the consequences is always the right decision. This ordinance aims to build upon the accountability and transparency that Chicago deserves.”
“This ordinance is yet another pivotal step in the right direction toward accountability and transparency,” said 29th Ward Alderman and Chairman of the Public Safety Committee, Chris Taliaferro. “As a former Chicago police officer, I can say through lived experience that the police only benefit when we increase their transparency and accountability to the public.”
The database will be created and maintained by the Office of the Inspector General (OIG). After determining an appropriate budget and staff, the OIG will create and publish on its website a searchable and downloadable digital repository of summary reports which will include finalized disciplinary dispositions against members of the Chicago Police Department. For each summary report the public-facing repository will list the following:
- The Complainant Register (CR) number
- The complainant or other notification type and category
- The names of each accused member
- The name of the investigating agency
- The final disciplinary decision or other final disposition
The publication of summary reports of police misconduct and related discipline is critical; however, it is equally important to highlight the need for this to be a resource for the public. As such, the new database will be regularly updated by the OIG after the closure of any new disciplinary investigation. No summary reports of investigations into alleged incidents of domestic abuse, child abuse or substance abuse will be published in the database. Further, the proposed ordinance will not diminish any of the City’s obligations under the Illinois Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). The ordinance, and its corresponding database, will serve as a complement to those important requirements outlined in FOIA.
This ordinance will be introduced at a reconvening of a joint meeting between the Committee on Finance and the Committee on Public Safety on May 24. Once approved at the committee level, this ordinance will be considered by the full City Council for a final vote of approval. Upon passage, the OIG will have one year following the effective date to create and publish this database.
Mayor Lightfoot, Chairman Waguespack, and Chairman Taliaferro are committed to ensuring that Chicago’s future is one built around a transparent understanding of Chicago police misconduct and corresponding discipline.