The Community Engagement Team is a critical part of the Independent Monitoring Team and embodies our collaborative approach to this monitoring work. The Community Engagement Team is comprised of experienced Chicago community members, experts in police-community relations, lawyers, and academic scholars. These members work together to meaningfully engage Chicago’s communities and ensure their participation throughout the monitoring process. The Community Engagement Team works closely with the Monitor, Deputy Monitors, and Associate Monitors to assess the community component of compliance with the Consent Decree.

Photo of Joe Hoereth

Joe Hoereth, PhD, is an urban planner who regularly engages with Chicago communities through his position as Director of the Institute for Policy and Civic Engagement (IPCE) at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC). Dr. Hoereth creates opportunities for scholars, community members, students, and the government to participate in public discourse and educational programs addressing current policy issues and social trends. Dr. Hoereth has expertise in community development research and evaluation, having previously worked for university research centers, non-profit organizations, and private consulting firms. He has conducted research projects on urban housing and comprehensive community building and has also authored multiple reports and papers on housing, community economic development, community engagement, and urban planning. Dr. Hoereth, along with his colleagues at IPCE and the National Opinion Research Center (NORC) at the University of Chicago, will conduct community surveys and special studies throughout the project. Dr. Hoereth resides in Chicago’s south suburbs.

Contact Dr. Hoereth at

Photo of Steve Rickman

Stephen Rickman, MA, is an expert in police-community relations. He has worked for over 20 years in high-level positions in public safety and community support. Mr. Rickman is currently an Associate Monitor on the Independent Monitoring Team for the Albuquerque Police Department’s Court Approved Settlement Agreement and a former Director of the Department of Justice (DOJ) Weed and Seed Program. He is also a former Division Director for the U.S. Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Assistance, and a member of the Federal Government’s Senior Executive Service. Mr. Rickman served as the Technical Advisor to President Obama’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing.

Steve also has experience working in Chicago, having overseen several Chicago-area Weed and Seed sites. Finally, Steve’s parents and grandparents were Chicagoans, and he has spent time in the city throughout his life. As the Associate Monitor for Community Policing, Mr. Rickman is will work closely with the Community Engagement Team.

Contact Mr. Rickman at

Norma Ramos, MSM, is a civic engagement strategist who regularly engages with Chicago communities as the Associate Director for the Institute for Policy and Civic Engagement (IPCE) at the University of Illinois Chicago (UIC). As Associate Director, she is responsible for leading strategic direction, initiatives and management related to the Institute’s core areas of research, education, and public discourse. She is also responsible for building and maintaining civic, community and educational partnerships, media partners, and local and state government relations related to the program development and administration functions of the Institute. She manages the Institute’s research projects, educational and leadership programs, public discourse, and dialogue initiatives. She is also a trained facilitator, manages training programs and opportunities utilizing various dialogue methods to enhance deliberative democracy and civic and public engagement.

Contact Ms. Ramos at