BGA Policy Team Says Police Draft Consent Decree Needs Transparency Work

While the draft Chicago police consent decree is an important step, the BGA’s Policy Team recommends revisions to advance Chicago police transparency.

Police officers patrol area near downtown Chicago. (RiverNorthPhotography, Getty Images)

The Illinois Attorney General’s draft consent decree with the City of Chicago outlines changes the city has agreed to make to improve police accountability and address the pattern or practice of excessive force and other problems the Department of Justice documented in Chicago.

The BGA’s Policy Team supports having a consent decree. However, we have reviewed the agreement and believe revisions and additional commitments are needed. The Policy Team, in consultation with the BGA’s outside general counsel, Matt Topic, focused on areas where the draft fails to protect and advance the transparency of public safety and enforcement activities in the City of Chicago.

Our team recommended that the attorney general’s office must ensure that nothing in the consent decree creates new exemptions in the existing Illinois Freedom of Information Act. In addition, the agreement should push the city to be more transparent, for example by releasing records sooner.

The letter submitted by the BGA Policy Team to the attorney general and city officials is shared below.

About the Author

Rachel L. Leven

Rachel Leven is the BGA’s policy manager focusing on Chicago and Cook County. Before joining the BGA, Leven ran communications for the City of Chicago Office of Inspector General (OIG), a nationally renowned municipal oversight agency.