By Derrick Blakley


Chicago (CBS) — It’s a new day for Chicago’s traditionally secretive police department, operating under the bright light of a federal consent decree.

“The Chicago Police Department, under the terms of the decree, is going to have to pull back the covers and really expose itself to the monitoring team,” said Sheila Bedi, a professor at Northwestern Law School. That monitoring team will then have to report to the federal court and make all this information public.”

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What’s the cost for reform and transparency? City Hall puts the price tag of the consent decree at $25.7 million, including almost $13 million for personnel, $5 million for technology and about $3 million for court oversight.

“It really has the opportunity to have profound impact,” said Ron Safer, a former federal prosecutor.

But how does the cost compare to other cities with consent decrees?

In 2018, Baltimore spent $10.5 million, which amounts to $4,156 per officer.

In 2015, Cleveland spent $11 million, which is $7,232 per officer.

And in 2012, New Orleans spent $7 million, which is $5,668 per officer.

Surprisingly, all those cities topped Chicago’s cost.

At $25.7 million, Chicago comes in at only $2,141 per officer.

But, there’s another cost to consider.

Chicago’s paid out more than $700 million in police misconduct settlements since 2010, including $5 million to the family of Laquan McDonald.

“If we make the police officers more professional, give them better training, 21st century training, then that should reduce the lawsuits that we see on the back end,” Police Supt. Eddie Johnson said.

Experts in other cities say costs to implement a police consent decree often increase after the first year. They warn that may happen in Chicago too.

Derrick Blakley