Why is Chicago under a consent decree?

Consent Decree Timeline

  • December 2015 – U.S. Attorney General launched civil rights investigation into the CPD’s policing practices.
  • January 2017 – The U.S. Department of Justice released the results of its investigation and found a longstanding, pervasive “pattern or practice” of civil rights abuses by the CPD.[1]
  • August 2017 – Office of the Illinois Attorney General sued the City seeking a Consent Decree to address DOJ’s findings and recommendations. The case was assigned to federal Judge Robert M. Dow, Jr. The OAG sought input from community members and Chicago police officers and negotiated the Consent Decree with the City.
  • March 2018 – The Parties to the Consent Decree, the OAG, and the City entered into a Memorandum of Understanding with community organizations known as the Coalition in the Consent Decree.[2]
  • July 2018 – The OAG and the City release a draft of the Consent Decree [3] and seek proposals for an Independent Monitoring Team.
  • October 2018 – Judge Dow received public feedback on the proposed Consent Decree through written comments and two days of public fairness hearings.
  • January 31, 2019 – Judge Dow approved and signed the Consent Decree.
  • March 1, 2019, Consent Decree goes into effect. Jude Dow appointed Maggie Hickey as the Independent Monitor and appointed Judge David H. Coar, Ret. as a special master to “help facilitate dialogue and assist the OAG, the City, and other stakeholders in resolving issues that could delay implementation of the Consent Decree.”  Both Independent Monitor Hickey and special master Judge Coar report directly to Judge Dow.

Read the full Consent Decree.

Who is on the Monitoring Team?

Independent Monitor, Maggie Hickey leads a team of professionals and consultants from Schiff Hardin and the CNA Institute for Public Research, including recognized leaders and innovators in police reform. They have experience as police chiefs, academic scholars, and attorneys who have a wide range of expertise that covers every aspect of the Consent Decree. Their role is to assess the CPD’s and the City’s compliance with the required reforms of the Consent Decree. Meet the team.

What does the Independent Monitoring Team do?

  • Reports to Judge Dow
  • Reviews planned changes in CPD protocol, procedure, process, and practice
  • Observes police training and police work in the field
  • Engages in outreach to understand how changes are felt in communities
  • Provides input to shape new and revised policy
  • Determines the City’s compliance with the Consent Decree
  • Issues public reports on our website: cpdmonitoringteam.com

How does the Independent Monitoring Team Carry Out its Task of Overseeing Reform?

  • Attend Community Organization Meetings In-Person or Virtual
  • Host Meetings with Community Organizations and Community Members
  • Attend the CPD’s Community Meetings Known as the CAPS Beat Meetings
  • Attend District Advisory Committee Meetings
  • Co-Host Quarterly Meetings with Coalition
  • Review CPD and City Policies and Training
  • Observe CPD and City Training
  • Conduct Bi-Weekly Meetings for Each Section of Consent Decree
  • Observe CPD Internal Progress Updates
  • Ensure Meaningful Data Transparency
  • Provide Ongoing Technical Assistance
  • Conduct Semi-Annual On-Site Visits
  • Host Community Outreach Meetings
  • Host Listening Sessions for Significant Events like the Demonstrations in the Summer of 2020
  • Create Annual Monitoring Plans
  • Create a Semi-Annual Reports on Consent Decree Progress
  • Create Special Reports on Significant Events like the Demonstrations in the Summer of 2020
  • Conduct Bi-Annual Community Surveys
  • Conduct Bi-Annual Focus Groups of Underrepresented Populations 
  • Conduct Ongoing Social Media Analysis

What is the Independent Monitor’s Community Engagement Team?

One of the strengths of Independent Monitor Hickey’s approach is the Community Engagement Team. We organize in-person and virtual meetings to keep the community engaged in the reform process. This local team of passionate experts is meeting with residents, stakeholders, and activists to ensure the community has a voice in this process.

What is a Consent Decree?

A legal document that requires changes to the Chicago Police Department’s policies and practices to improve policing for everyone in Chicago

The required changes focus on: Community Policing, Impartial Policing, Crisis Intervention, Use of Force, Recruitment, Hiring, and Promotion, Training, Supervision, Officer Wellness and Support, Accountability and Transparency, and Data Collection, Analysis, and Management.

What is the Community Survey?

The Consent Decree requires the IMT conduct a survey every other year to assess Chicago residents’ perceptions of the CPD on the following topics:

  • Police Services
  • Trustworthiness
  • Community engagement
  • Effectiveness
  • Responsiveness
  • Handling of misconduct complaints and investigations
  • Interactions with members of the Chicago community

The first Community Survey was filed in August 2020.

Consent Decree Stipulations

The Parties to the Consent Decree—the City of Chicago and the Office of the Illinois Attorney General—have filed the following stipulations since the start of the Consent Decree: