Aldermen Address Concerns About COPA’s Mission, Funding

CHICAGO (CBS) — Chicago Aldermen went easy on the new director of the Civilian Office of Police Accountability during budget hearings on Wednesday. But, they expressed concerns about the agency’s mission and its funding.

During budget hearings, some Chicago aldermen raised concerns that the city’s new police accountability agency has not been given enough money to do its job. WBBM’s Political Editor Craig Dellimore reports.

Interim Director Patricia Banks took the reins of the Civilian Office of Police Accountability just weeks ago, when original director Sharon Fairly quit to run for office. So, aldermen were easy on her in budget hearings. But, Alderman Pat Dowell was one of those who noted that COPA’s budget is supposed to be no less than one percent of the Chicago Police Department budget.

“Does your budget fulfill the requirements of the ordinance that this body passed?” Dowell asked.

“Alderman Dowell to the best of my knowledge, it does. There might be a reasonable interpretation that is goes one way or the other, but we are at this point adequately resourced,” Banks said.

City budget officials admit some confusion with the budget books, but say the goal set in the ordinance is being met.

Aldermen stressed that the agency that investigates alleged police misconduct needs to have the confidence of the public. And, Banks acknowledged that.

“The city, the City Council and the Mayor have taken the substantial steps forward in an attempt to satisfy some of the concerns,” Banks said.

She said, after its first year, she believes it will meet the test.

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