CHICAGO (CBS) — Two public hearings have been scheduled for the end of October for Chicago residents to weigh in on the proposed consent decree that will govern sweeping changes at the Chicago Police Department.
U.S. District Judge Robert Dow will preside over the hearings on Oct. 24 and 25 at the Dirksen Federal Building, at the courthouse’s large ceremonial courtroom on the 25th floor.
That courtroom is often used for high-profile trials because it has a much larger public seating area than standard courtrooms.
Both hearings will be held from 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m., and each person who signs up to speak will be limited to five minutes, according to the Illinois Attorney General’s office, which negotiated the consent decree with the Emanuel administration.
Attorney General Lisa Madigan and Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced the final draft of the consent decree earlier this month, after reaching an agreement on the final sticking point: requiring officers to document every time they point their weapon at someone.
Police Supt. Eddie Johnson said, before the city agreed to that requirement, the department wanted to make sure it would not deter officers from drawing their weapons when needed in a dangerous situation.
“We fought to ensure that we do not create impediments to officers’ ability to do their jobs effectively,” he said. “We never want officers to hesitate, because if they do, that could mean the loss of their life or someone else’s; but at the same time, we want the public to recognize that we’re out there to protect them also.”
The draft agreement also includes changes to police use of force, training, supervision, discipline, oversight, and more.
Dow must approve the final language of the consent decree before it can be enforced by the courts.
Once approved, an independent monitor will be appointed to make sure the Chicago Police Department is in compliance with the reform measures.
Madigan’s office said nine teams have submitted applications to become the independent monitor. Their applications are available online, and the public can provide feedback on them.
Madigan and Mayor Rahm Emanuel will announce a group of finalists on Oct. 15. After that, two public forums will be held to hear presentations from the finalists on Nov. 3 at the Thompson Center. Dow will make the final selection of the independent monitor.
Anyone can provide written comments on the consent decree by sending a letter or legal brief to the federal court clerk’s office by 4:30 p.m. on Oct. 12. Witten comments can be mailed or delivered to the following address:
Clerk of Court
United States District Court
Everett McKinley Dirksen Federal Building
219 South Dearborn Street, 20th Floor
Chicago, IL 60604
Re: State of Illinois vs. City of Chicago, Case No. 17-cv-6260
The Chicago Fraternal Order of Police, the union for rank-and-file officers, has called the proposed consent decree a sham, and vowed to fight it in court, claiming that requiring officers to file a report every time they point their guns at someone will only make officers hesitate in dangerous situations.
The police union has said any changes to department policies should be negotiated with the FOP.