Aldermen To Debate Mayor’s Plan To Replace IPRA

CHICAGO (CBS) — Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s plan to replace the Independent Police Review Authority was set to go before a City Council committee on Tuesday, but a final vote is still at least a few weeks away.

At the request of Mayor Emanuel and City Council leaders, the Budget and Public Safety committees will meet Tuesday morning to consider a proposed ordinance creating the Civilian Office on Police Accountability (COPA) and a new public safety inspector general who would report to Chicago Inspector General Joseph Ferguson, and be empowered to launch investigations of police officers.

Current IPRA chief administrator Sharon Fairley likely will be asked to stay on to head up COPA on at least a short-term basis to assure continuity of existing investigations while a national search is conducted for a permanent leader.

The mayor originally hoped to get a vote by the full City Council on Wednesday, but many aldermen have objected to rushing the ordinance.

“I think we should give the public enough time to digest it, and review it, and comment upon it before we ultimately pass it,” Ald. Roderick Sawyer (6th) said.

Emanuel has agreed to give them more time to review his plan.

“I’m not going to allow two weeks to be a stumbling block, because we have built up a lot of good will and a lot of trust with each other,” the mayor said.

Aldermen also have pointed out the mayor’s plan is incomplete. The proposal does not include a guaranteed budget for the new police oversight agency, a provision allowing COPA to hire its own lawyers, or a component for community oversight of the board.

The mayor has said those details are still being sorted out.

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