The Chicago Police Department (CPD) Independent Monitoring Team is responsible for assessing the CPD’s and the City of Chicago’s (City’s) compliance with the required elements of the consent decree.

In December 2015, the U.S. Attorney General launched a broad civil rights investigation into the CPD’s policing practices. The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) released the results of its investigation in January 2017, finding a longstanding, pervasive “pattern or practice” of civil rights abuses by the CPD.[1]

In August 2017, the Office of the Illinois Attorney General (OAG) sued the City in federal court, seeking a consent decree that would address DOJ’s findings and recommendations. The case was assigned to Judge Robert M. Dow, Jr. The OAG then sought input from community members and Chicago police officers and negotiated the consent decree with the City.

In March 2018, the Parties to the consent decree, the OAG and the City, also entered into a Memorandum of Agreement with “certain community organizations that have established a broad-based community coalition (‘Coalition’) committed to monitoring, enforcing, and educating the community about” the consent decree.[2]

The OAG and the City then sought proposals for an Independent Monitoring Team after posting a draft consent decree on the Chicago Police Consent Decree website.[3] In October 2018, Judge Dow received public feedback on the proposed consent decree through written comments and two days of public fairness hearings. Judge Dow approved and signed the consent decree on January 31, 2019. The consent decree requires actions by the CPD and many other City entities.[4]

On March 1, 2019, the effective date of the consent decree, and after a competitive selection process, Judge Dow appointed Ms. Maggie Hickey, a Partner in the Schiff Hardin law firm, as the Independent Monitor. Judge Dow also appointed Judge David H. Coar, Ret., as a special master. As special master, Judge Coar is not a member of the Independent Monitoring Team, but he will “help facilitate dialogue and assist the [OAG], the City, and other stakeholders in resolving issues that could delay progress toward implementation of the consent decree.”[5] Both Ms. Hickey, as the Independent Monitor, and Judge Coar, as the special master, will report directly to Judge Dow.

As the Monitor, Ms. Hickey leads a team of professionals and consultants from Schiff Hardin and the CNA Institute for Public Research, including subject matter experts, members of the Independent Monitoring Team’s Community Engagement Team, and other partners. Our role as the Independent Monitoring Team is to assess the CPD’s and the City’s compliance with the required elements of the consent decree. Learn more about our team here.


[1] DOJ Civil Rights Division and United States Attorney’s Office Northern District of Illinois, Investigation of Chicago Police Department (January 13, 2017) at 4, available at http://chicagopoliceconsentdecree.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/DOJ-INVESTIGATION-OF-CHICAGO-POLICE-DEPT-REPORT.pdf.

[2] See Memorandum of Agreement Between the Office of the Illinois Attorney General and the City of Chicago and Campbell v. City of Chicago Plaintiffs and Communities United v. City of Chicago Plaintiffs (March 20, 2018), available at http://chicagopoliceconsentdecree.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/Executed_MOA.pdf.

[3] More information about the IMT selection process is available on this website, which the OAG administers. See Independent Monitor, Chicago Police Consent Decree, http://chicagopoliceconsentdecree.org/independent-monitor/. Other resources, such as consent decree documents, court filings, and reports, are also available on this website. See Resources, Chicago Police Consent Decree, http://chicagopoliceconsentdecree.org/resources/.

[4] The final consent decree is available on the Chicago Police Consent Decree Website. See Consent Decree (January 31, 2019), http://chicagopoliceconsentdecree.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/02/FINAL-CONSENT-DECREE-SIGNED-BY-JUDGE-DOW.pdf.

[5] About, Chicago Police Consent Decree, http://chicagopoliceconsentdecree.org/about/.