The City Council’s Public Safety Committee will host a fifth and final public hearing Tuesday to discuss four competing proposals for a new police watchdog agency in Chicago.
Two of the plans come from mayoral ally Ald. Ariel Reboyras (30th Ward) and are based on agencies in Seattle and Los Angeles.
The other two are being championed by community groups and give civilians much more power, including the ability to fire top brass in the department and shape policy.
Morning Shift has been checking in with the folks behind the four proposals. In this interview, Reboyras broke down the two proposed organizations he recently introduced: the Chicago Civilian Oversight Commission (CCOC) and the Chicago Community Police Commission (CCPC).
“We don’t want complete control [from] City Council,” Reboyras told Morning Shift host Tony Sarabia on Tuesday. “We don’t want complete control from the mayor’s office. We need an advocacy group — a citizen’s board — that can help us achieve what we need to make this a good working relationship.”
He also took questions from listeners. Below are highlights from the conversation.
Four public hearings have taken place so far. The final hearing is Tuesday from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at Amundsen High Schools, 5110 N. Damen Ave.
The public should have an ‘advisory role’ when it comes to police oversight
Ald. Ariel Reboyras: I don’t support any one of the ordinances right now. I’m not saying that I support the two that I introduced more than the others. It’s something to work with. The two ordinances that were previously introduced [known as the CCPSA and the CPAC] — it takes over, fully takes over, all the organizations, city agencies. It’s full control in the public. Do we need that? Full control? Absolutely not.
Tony Sarabia: Why not?
Reboyras: Well because, A, you’ve got to know — we know what’s going on with the city of Chicago. We have agencies that have been working for many years and let’s face it: The issues that we’re addressing didn’t start a month ago [or] two years ago. We’re going back 50, 60 years and we’re trying to correct it in two months or a year? It’s not going to happen that quickly. To give full control to an outside agency with no professional organizations, we don’t know who that might be. Not only that, too much power in an organization opens it up for lobbying groups.
… I think giving all the power to one outside organization, meaning the community, does not fix the problems moving forward. I believe that they should have a role, absolutely. I don’t say they should not. Total control? I don’t agree with it.
Informing aldermen about all four plans: ‘That’s going to be tough’
Listener question: How are you going to ensure that all of the aldermen in the city are very well educated on these four different ordinances?
Reboyras: That’s going to be tough. We’ve had some of my colleagues read up on them —
Sarabia: Why would it be tough? I mean it seems like a pretty important subject.
Reboyras: Well it’s a big decision. Big decision. And either way we’re going to have to come back and cast a vote on something. On either a substitute ordinance or one of the four that’s being introduced today.
On the two plans based on programs in Seattle and Los Angeles
Sarabia: I’m just wondering why you introduced two plans instead of taking the two previous plans — that show more involvement, more power with community members — to come up with something that everybody could agree with.
Reboyras: As the public safety chairman, I’ve been advocating and participating in public meetings for two years now. The city has made significant strides that no one’s really talking about in establishing the right checks and balances to ensure that the department adopts the necessary changes to their policies and procedures that are currently in place, and that members are held to the highest standards.
Sarabia: Well the community groups would argue that that’s not taking place. And their concern is that with the proposals you’re pushing, seven [advisory members] would be appointed by the mayor, seven appointed by the City Council. Their concern is they view that as continuing with the status quo.
Reboyras: And I understand that. And that can be changed. Again, I’m not married to any one of the four ordinances. What we want is a different flavor out there to see if we can work with the four to create either a substitute ordinance that’s going to bring some portions of each one into one significant ordinance that we can all address, that we can all live with.
This interview has been edited for clarity and brevity. Click on the “play” button above to listen to the entire segment.