Chicago, IL—The Chicago Police Board has more functions than punishing cops over allegations of misconduct. The reality is the board itself is a mystery operating in the shadows of City Hall. The Board has had a strong odor of major corruption for decades. It operates in total defiance of the principals of open government.
The board members are appointed and get paid handsomely whether they work or not. They only answer secretly, to their appointing authority. The board hearings are not publicly accessible, nor are the videos or transcripts of the proceedings.
The board is almost never present during discipline hearings and the Master of Ceremonies is a politically connected lawyer who is the appointed hearing officer. The hearing officer makes a recommendation and the board simply acts as a rubber stamp. The board members are supposed to view the video of the hearings at their convenience but there is absolutely no reliable evidence that they do that.
The board must come out of the shadows, be present at the hearings and act as the trier of facts.
Police Board decisions are too often reversed later in the courts because of denials of due process and the reality that they made conclusions that were against the manifest weight of the evidence. Millions of dollars in back pay must be unnecessarily awarded to exonerated cops for work never provided. That’s because the board consistently manages to violate the civil rights of the officers whose careers were on the Police Board’s carpet.
By the same token the politically connected officers with very troubling conduct histories get special protection from the board they don’t deserve.
The Chicago Police Board is a scam that exists only to give the appearance of a functioning organization to met out fair discipline and wherever else they have the authority over.
The board needs to be replaced with a new commission that operates transparently. The men and women of the Chicago Police Department deserve nothing less than a real commission staffed with dedicated members operating in the sunshine.