CHCAGO (CBS) — After the Independent Police Review Authority, also known as IPRA, will be abolished, it will be replaced by COPA, the Civilian Office on Police Accountability.
CBS2’s Derrick Blakley reports, Mayor Rahm Emanuel is pleased with feedback from aldermen who’ve seen his new police oversight proposals and the new police accountability ordinance, which include the re-boot of IPRA into COPA.
“Even people that normally aren’t complimentary of my work acknowledge that the product is good,” he said.
“I think they’ve got some solid ground here,” said Ald. John Arena of the 45th Ward, who works with the City Council’s Progressive Caucus. “We’re reforming what IPRA does and really refining its role further than existed before.”
With the creation of the new agency, police officers and prosecutors would have to wait five years before seeking jobs as COPA investigators. And the city inspector general would hire a separate inspector general, to monitor the police and COPA.
But some aldermen are concerned there’s no mandated budget level for the new office.
“To be free of the politics of Chicago, you have to have a standing budget, a portion of the overall city budget is probably the best way to do it,” said Ald. Scott Waguespack, of the 32nd Ward.
Anxious to show progress toward reform in the wake of the Laquan McDonald shooting,
Emanuel wanted to hold a hearing on September 13 and pass the ordinance the next day.
Too fast, say some aldermen.
“I think we should give the public enough time to digest it , review it and comment on it before we pass it,” said Ald. Roderick Sawyer, 6th Ward.
But today, the mayor backed off that timeline, saying, “I’m not going to allow two weeks to be a stumbling block because we have built up a lot of trust with each other.”
The public should expect passage around the end of September, but no commitment from Emanuel on whether COPA will get a percentage of the city budget, or on whether it will be able to hire its own attorneys and not use those from the law department, who also defends police officers. Critics say that’s also a potential conflict of interest.