Re-Imagine Chicago: Despite Consent Decree, Police Reform Remains Elusive

Calls for reform and even defunding Chicago Police have grown louder in recent years. But the pressure on the department to change is nothing new.

Chicago Police
Manuel Martinez / WBEZ
Chicago Police
Manuel Martinez / WBEZ

Re-Imagine Chicago: Despite Consent Decree, Police Reform Remains Elusive

Calls for reform and even defunding Chicago Police have grown louder in recent years. But the pressure on the department to change is nothing new.

Chicago has the second-largest police force in the nation, and like many other U.S. cities, it’s a unionized workforce with strong protections. It’s also a force operating under a federal consent decree, aimed at ushering in major reforms to the beleaguered department. But in the first year, Chicago Police missed more than 70 percent of its court-mandated deadlines. Critics say the union contracts effectively eliminate accountability and oversight and shield officers from meaningful retribution for civil rights and other abuses.

So what would it take to achieve significant and efficient reform in CPD? And what role does the police union play?

For the latest in our series “Reimagine Chicago,” Reset digs into what obstacles Chicago faces on the path to police reform.

GUESTS: Patrick Smith, WBEZ criminal justice reporter

Arne Duncan, founder of Chicago CRED; former U.S. Secretary of Education

Rachel Murphy, staff attorney at the ACLU of Illinois