CHICAGO (CBS) — In the wake of the Justice Department’s report slamming the Chicago Police Department for widespread abuses, Illinois’ senior senator expressed doubts the incoming Trump administration will help the city make necessary reforms.
U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin called the Justice Department’s critical review of the CPD a challenge, but he also said it’s a first step towards bringing peace to the neighborhoods of the city.
“Certainly there has to be change when it comes to the Police Department, and that’s what we’re learning from the Department of Justice; but there has to be other changes as well. We have to go to the root causes of some of these problems with young people, and folks who are unemployed, underemployed. Giving them a chance for a decent living is a starting point,” he said.
The senator said he’s encouraged Mayor Rahm Emanuel has forged an agreement in principle to negotiate a consent decree, to be filed in federal court, and to have an independent monitor oversee reforms.
“That shows that he’s open to this change, and wants to do it in a reasonable way,” Durbin said.
However, Durbin said he’s not sure if President-elect Donald Trump will help provide needed funding for any of the changes needed at the Chicago Police Department.
“I don’t know what to expect of the new administration. When I asked Senator [Jeff] Sessions, who is aspiring to be attorney general, ‘Can you come up with the federal funds to help us?’ … he would make no commitment,” Durbin said.
Sessions has voiced concerns about the use of consent decrees to impose police reforms, claiming they paint with too broad a brush and make it difficult for officers to do their jobs.