Inspector General’s 2018 Statement to Chicago Public Safety Committee

Opening Statement of the Inspector General, 2018 Public Safety Committee Nomination of Joseph Lipari, July 19, 2018

Good afternoon Chairman Reboyras and members of the Public Safety Committee:

I am honored and pleased to submit for your consideration the nomination of Joseph Lipari to be the Deputy Inspector General for Public Safety.

To set the stage for your discussion and at the request of the Chair, I will do three things: (1) explain the process by which he comes to you; (2) briefly introduce his background and qualifications which in the assessment of the external search committee and my office makes him uniquely well-qualified to take on the leadership of the Section; and (3) at the request of the chair, bring the committee current on the responsibilities of the Public Safety Section and the work it has done and that is in progress.

The Process
Pursuant to the enabling ordinance creating the dedicated Public Safety IG section enacted by the City Council in October 2016, the selection of a Deputy IG for Public Safety proceeds on the basis of a national search conducted by an outside body with the requisite expertise in both the subject field and executive recruitment. That national search was administered externally by the Civic Consulting Alliance working pro bono. CCA secured executive recruitment expertise through Lantern Partners, a national executive search firm that also provided its services pro bono. CCA received subject matter expertise in the field of police oversight from the National Association of Civilian Oversight of Law Enforcement (or NACOLE) which is the largest and leading association in the field. NACOLE provided front end consulting guidance to assure that the search criteria were appropriately formulated and directed to best assure a qualified candidate pool.

The position was posted in numerous job sites and list serves nationally, including sites specific to government executive recruitment, law enforcement, government oversight and civilian police oversight. Applications were reviewed and scored by an Advisory Committee comprised of leadership representatives from community, legal, policy, oversight and law enforcement organizations that included:

  • The Superintendent’s Office of the Chicago Police Department
  • The Cook County Public Defender’s Office
  • The Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights
  • The Cabrini Green Legal Aid
  • BPI
  • Enlace
  • A retired United States District Court Judge
  • The Office of Police Monitor in Austin, TX
  • The Legal Assistance Foundation
  • The United Congress of Community and Religious Organizations
  • The ACLU-Chicago
  • The OIR Group which provides counsel and consulting services to police accountability organizations nationally
  • Riley Safer Holmes & Cancila

Candidates deemed worthy of advanced consideration were then asked to submit written answers to three essay questions determined by the advisory committee in consultation with CCA.

The responses were then scored by the advisory committee with candidates then ranked and considered for referral to the OIG at a meeting which I was asked to attend.

From that meeting, a list of ten candidates were referred to OIG, with a designation of four of them as most favored for interview and consideration. Those four included people from the west coast and east coast, three of whom had work experience directly in some form of police oversight or management, and all with graduate degrees in fields relevant to the field of police oversight.

Following the Committee’s recommendation, all four of those top tier candidates were then interviewed in person by Senior management of my office in sessions I attended more as observer than participant. OIG Senior Management then provided their recommendations to me, much as they do in our regular hiring process for all positions in the office.

Mr. Lipari was the top recommended candidate coming out of both the initial external process, and then the trailing internal process.

Joseph Lipari
Joseph L. Lipari is Assistant Inspector General for the Inspector General – New York Police Department (IG-NYPD) under the New York City Department of Investigation. In this position, Lipari has led investigations into, among other things, NYPD’s Use-of-Force reporting, Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) training and dispatch procedures, and inefficiencies in NYPD’s complaint tracking system.

As a Senior Policy Manager, Lipari helped manage IG-NYPD’s Policy Analysis Unit by interviewing prospective employees, supervising staff, and coordinating with the Investigations Unit. Lipari also served as the chair of IG-NYPD’s Project Development Committee.

Prior to joining IG-NYPD, Lipari served as the Administrator of the Citizen Review Board (CRB) in Syracuse, New York. Lipari rebuilt the Syracuse CRB after the board had become inactive and ineffective for many years. In this role, Lipari handled all administrative and operational aspects of the office including complaint intake, investigations, internal and public reporting, data analysis, development of police policy and training recommendations, community outreach and public relations. Under Lipari’s tenure, the Syracuse CRB expanded its capacity by bringing on additional investigators, consultants, and outside legal counsel.

Prior to joining the Syracuse CRB, Lipari served as the Executive Director of Citizens Alert, a Chicago-based non-profit organization that worked to ensure effective civilian oversight and police accountability in the City of Chicago.  In that role, Lipari served as Chair of Community Outreach for the Chicago Coalition for Police Accountability and worked closely with community groups, non-profit organizations, civilian oversight agencies, police, and elected officials to reform the City of Chicago’s police accountability mechanisms.

Before entering the field of civilian oversight of law enforcement, Lipari was an academic graduate student, researcher and instructor of African American history at the University of Illinois at Chicago. His academic research and writing examined the evolution of policing in Chicago and its impact on the city’s African American communities.

While a graduate student, he also taught in the City Colleges, specifically Harold Washington College and continues to be a mentor to students he had from that time.

While in the process of completing his Ph.D., Lipari decided to change careers and enter the profession of civilian oversight of law enforcement.

Lipari is an active member of the National Association for Civilian Oversight of Law Enforcement (NACOLE) for which he serves as the co-chair of the Strategic Planning Committee.

In April 2015, Lipari traveled to St. Petersburg, Russia on behalf of NACOLE to advise Russian civil society organizations on the process of developing institutions for civilian oversight of law enforcement.

A native of south Louisiana, Lipari has two young children. His spouse of nearly 20 years is a professional violinist who is reportedly very excited about returning to Chicago.

The Public Safety IG Section Mr. Lipari would lead if his nomination is favorably referred to and then confirmed by the City Council presently is in full operation.

The Public Safety Section
The OIG Public Safety Section currently has 17 dedicated employees, the vast majority of whom have graduate degrees – either Masters or Ph.Ds in disciplines relevant to the evaluation and review of governmental bodies and police departments. They have received extensive and continuing training over the past year in reviews and performance analysis of government programs and organizations, including law enforcement bodies. Twenty members of OIG, including PSIG staff as well as supporting personnel from the office’s legal and investigative sections have received and are certified as Lead Homicide Investigators by NEMRT (Northeast Multi-Regional Training). They also have variously and extensively observed and participated in trainings at the Chicago Police Academy and collectively have observed the full curricular sequence of COPA Academy.

With the support and assistance of CPD, the full PSIG staff have been on ride alongs on beat patrols in various districts in the City and have engaged in numerous officers in round table discussions to get the perspective of officers and sergeants on the challenges of the job and ways the department can improve their support for officers

The Public Safety Section has additionally brought in experts in the fields of crime strategy, policing and oversight to offer presentations to OIG staff on current work and trends.

The Section has also promulgated rules and has formulated and implemented operating manuals covering all aspects of its work.

In the spring, PSIG issued its first evaluation – on the department’s compliance with the Firearm Owner Identification Act — that resulted in substantial changes to CPD practices through a new General Order that serves legal, criminal law enforcement and community safety objectives.

As part of a larger OIG initiative, PSIG has been involved in the creation of an information portal that will improve data-based transparency and accountability to the public, facilitate the work of the City Council in its legislative oversight function through access to user friendly data through the work of the Center for Information Technology and Analytics – something which the Chair has previewed – and as a management tool for CPD itself that will facilitate its ongoing operational reform effort.

The office has issued two products, one to COPA and one to CPD which both have responses still pending. Specifically, Public Safety has:

  • asked COPA to consider its disclosure of sustained cases that are pending Superintendent review and decision in a framework that better balances public transparency objectives with procedural justice considerations that are important to legitimacy of the disciplinary components of the accountability system;
  • issued a review of CPD’s management of School Resource Officers placed in the Chicago Public Schools. Our extensive community outreach work that is an integrated function of PSIG with the rest of OIG has identified the SRO program as a huge area of complaint, concern and confusion. We hope CPD is responsive to the report in a timeframe that will upgrade the program to comport with well-settled national best practices before the start of the school year.

Besides those three topics, and products, PSIG is currently working on nearly a dozen other evaluations and reviews that include the following topics:

  • The Gang Database
  • The Strategic Subject List
  • CPD Record Management System
  • Evaluation of CPD’s CIT program
  • Evaluation of compliance with the Video Release Policy
  • Evaluation of Internal Review Process for Body Worn Cameras

In all of these examples, you should note none are investigations of wrong-doing. That is not the function of PSIG.  Rather, PSIG is structured into two units – Evaluations and Inspections. Evaluations, as demonstrated above, are formal evidence based program or operation inquiries and assessments much along the lines of the work of what OIG’s Audit and Program Review unit does. Its reports are published after receipt of response from the subject agency or department. Inspections will be examining individual disciplinary case investigations in order to (1) identify material deficiencies that warrant a re-opening of an investigation; and (2) identify patterns pointing to recommendations of necessary refinements in policy and practice in BIA or COPA, or the Department itself, based on best practices. Inspections will also be evaluating settlements and judgments in police-related litigation for the same purposes.

Thus, in these and other respect, the heartland of PSIG’s role is oversight of CPD programs and operations, as well as oversight of the police accountability systems – COPA, BIA and the Police Board – resulting in public findings and recommendations for improvements in policies, practices and procedures to better serve the public with transparency and accountability, and to assure the stressful work of police officers is supported with the requisite resources, assistance, training and supervision.

In other words, the Chicago Police Department protects and serves the public, COPA and BIA primarily investigate misconduct, and PSIG evaluates and makes recommendations on how those three components might do their important jobs better, in a way that meets the values of public accountability and transparency needed to build public legitimacy and trust needed to combat crime with constitutional policing through partnership with the community.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

Joe Ferguson
Inspector General
Office of the Inspector General – City of Chicago