The Chicago Office of Inspector General (OIG) has published the results of its inquiry into the Chicago Police Department’s (CPD) enforcement of its Rule 14, which prohibits CPD members from making false reports. OIG’s inquiry included a review of the policies and practices of entities that comprise the police accountability system: the Civilian Office of Police Accountability (COPA), CPD’s Bureau of Internal Affairs (BIA), CPD’s Legal Affairs Division, and the Police Board.
OIG found that structural failures in Chicago’s police accountability system allow CPD members who have violated Rule 14 to remain in positions with duties that depend upon their truthfulness and credibility. Further, CPD’s processes for identifying members who have violated Rule 14 pose risk to the Department and to the legal and constitutional rights of criminal defendants and litigants. Finally, OIG found gaps in the practices and policies of COPA and CPD’s Bureau of Internal Affairs which contribute to the underenforcement of Rule 14.
The truthfulness and credibility of police officers are foundational to the fair administration of justice, and to CPD’s effectiveness as a law enforcement agency. CPD, COPA, and the Police Board have each publicly expressed the view that these qualities in CPD members are integral to their ability to perform their duties and that a member’s violation of Rule 14 poses important risks, including undermining their ability to testify in criminal prosecutions arising from CPD’s arrests.
At the time of the OIG reporting, CPD currently or recently employed over 100 members with histories of making false reports.
“Effective enforcement of Rule 14 is what stands between us and a world in which police officers get away with lying. We cannot expect effective, accountable law enforcement if we do not take every opportunity to ensure credibility. We cannot keep people safe from crimes we can’t prosecute, and we cannot build trust without truthfulness,” said Deborah Witzburg, Inspector General for the City of Chicago.
OIG made ten recommendations to improve the enforcement of Rule 14. Pursuing the firing of CPD members who were found to have violated Rule 14, consistent with the BIA’s and COPA’s respective stated policy positions, was first among them. OIG also recommended that if members who had violated Rule 14 remained employed with CPD, CPD should ensure they are assigned or detailed to positions that do not require them to write reports or testify in court. Recommendations also addressed documentation, record keeping, and reporting, to better track members with histories of violating Rule 14.
OIG’s inquiry into the enforcement of Rule 14 is mandated by the consent decree entered in Illinois v. Chicago. Alleged violations of CPD’s Rules and Regulations are usually investigated by CPD’s Bureau of Internal Affairs (BIA) and by the Civilian Office of Police Accountability (COPA), with the most serious of police disciplinary cases being adjudicated by the Chicago Police Board. All of these entities come within the scope of OIG’s inquiry into the enforcement of CPD’s rule against false reports.
Read the Report
Read the full report, released on May 25, 2023: Enforcement of the Chicago Police Department’s Rule Against False Reports.
Watch the Replay of the Live Q & A
Inspector General Witzburg hosted a live Q&A on May 25, on @ChicagoOIG on Facebook and YouTube. Watch the replay now.
The mission of the independent and nonpartisan City of Chicago Office of Inspector General (OIG) is to promote economy, effectiveness, efficiency, and integrity by identifying corruption, waste, and mismanagement in City government. OIG is a watchdog for the taxpayers of the City and has jurisdiction to conduct inquiries into most aspects of City government. If you see misconduct, mismanagement, ineffectiveness, or inefficiency, we need to hear from you. For more information, visit our website at igchicago.org.
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