Useful Websites

Law enforcement/criminal justice

Chicago police department

From this main page the entire CPD website can be accessed. Of particular interest to the PAP is the section on CAPS (Chicago Alternative Policing Strategy) which explains the CPD's organization (and has a nice click-able map of Chicago's districts and beats at In addition, the page contains links to Chicago crime statistics (by district and citywide), and a glossary of police terminology.

Cook county state's attorney's office

Illinois criminal law and procedure's list of helpful links about Illinois Criminal Law and Procedure. Included are links to the Illinois Criminal Code, the Illinois Code of Criminal Procedure, the United States Code, and the web sites of various private and governmental organizations about criminal law and law enforcement.

U.S. department of justice bureau of justice statistics

This site contains basic criminal justice and law enforcement statistics, both for states and the federal government, and has links to other statistical sources.

University of Illinois-Chicago department of criminal justice

In addition to basic information about the school's Criminal Justice department, this site has a good list of links to other sites about criminal justice in Chicago (at The site also has a link to the UIC's Institute for Public Safety Partnerships (at which has information and press releases on local community policing efforts.

Building blocks for youth references

This site is a list of references on various topics involving minority youth and the criminal justice system, with a focus on disparate sentencing and poor prison conditions for juveniles, as well as some references on prevention and rehabilitation programs.

Police executive research forum

The Police Executive Research Forum (PERF) is a national membership organization of progressive police executives that seeks to improve policing through research and involvement in public policy debate. PERF's primary sources of operating revenues are government grants and contracts, as well as private organizations. This site provides comprehensive information about PERF's research projects. These projects include the development of guidelines for the analysis and interpretation of vehicle/pedestrian stop data collected by agencies in the context of the national discussion on racial profiling. PERF has also developed a number of Publications on Community Policing and the Future of Police. These publications are intended to pose challenges regarding the role, function and methods of agencies in the context of community policing. PERF is also involved with Strengthening Relations Between Police and Minority Communities. The aim of this project is to develop methods for balancing crime control strategies with proactive interactions with citizens.

Vera institute of justice

The Vera Institute researches, raises money, and works with governmental entities to institute various reforms. It focuses its action in New York City, where the foundation is located. Currently the Vera Institute is working on promoting police accountability both in New York City and the state of New York. The website includes resources about all of their projects, one of which focuses on police accountability. Included on the site is its report on strengthening police accountability in the Bronx (at and an extensive bibliography (about 500 sources, some annotated) on policing (at

Police accountability

ACLU of northern california

The main page for the ACLU of Northern California, containing news releases and links to the rest of their site.

ACLU and police practices

This page contains recent news postings of news stories involving police practices, an update of federal legislative actions on police practices (as well as background information on federal activity) has links to other related ACLU sites (such as the one on racial profiling below), and has a list of links to police practices websites by other organizations.

ACLU of northern california - police practices

This page summarizes the ACLU-NC's recent activities involving the police, including news briefs and press releases, and archives on activities in past years. Of particular interest to the PAP is the ACLU's community action manual on fighting police abuses (at, and John Crew's essay on community policing vs. policing the community (at

Chicago police red squad - FBI-CIA-MI lawsuit (first amendment and police activities)

This website contains background and court materials on an ongoing class-action lawsuit Alliance to End Repression, et al. vs. City of Chicago, et al., (originally filed in 1974) whose consent decree the Seventh Circuit recently modified (a link to that opinion is found here on the website). The case involves the Chicago Police Subversive Activities Unit which at trial was found to be in violation of the First Amendment for its monitoring and disruption of political organizations. The site provides an excellent background on the case, a time line of developments in the litigation, information on the consent decree, and copies of various court opinions handed down in the course of trial.

Citizens alert

Citizens Alert is Chicago's oldest community organization focused on police accountability.

Citizens for police review - Knoxville, TN

Citizens of Knoxville formed the CPR in response to several 1997-1998 deaths resulting from inappropriate Knoxville police actions. The website explains their organization, and has some basic explanatory pages for the public on citizen's rights regarding the police, Miranda warnings, and handling incidents of police brutality. CPR has on-line forms that users can submit to help CPR collect information on police abuse in Knoxville. The site also includes a statistical summary of the complaints CPR has gathered.

Human rights watch police accountability page

In June of 1998, Human Rights Watch published a comprehensive report on police brutality and misconduct in 14 US cities, including Chicago. Research for the report was conducted between 1995 and 1998. The report's table of contents ( sets out what the report includes. The report contains both a general survey and discussion of police brutality in the United States, but also includes sections on the individual cities in the study. The report covers general causes of the problem, local remedies, and litigation strategies using §241 (criminal civil rights prosecutions) initiated by the government and §1983 actions initiated by private citizens. The report also includes a number of appendices that explore how brutality has been prosecuted by the government both in terms of the number of cases brought and the sentences handed down for convictions.

The section of the report that focuses on Chicago (at describes some specific incidents of torture and/or brutality, describes how OPS and IAD handles (or doesn't handle) complaints, and summarizes how criminal and civil litigation strategies have been employed in Chicago.

Just cause law collective

The Just Cause Law Collective provides legal support to activists. Their page includes reports on being an activist, being a legal observer, and preparing for a trial as a result of activist activities.

Justice coalition of greater chicago

The Justice Coalition is an alliance of business, civic, legal, educational, and religious organizations in the Chicago area who combine efforts to address certain issues including the death penalty, juvenile justice, racial profiling, and police accountability. The website includes a calendar of upcoming events and links to documents associated with their activities (such as their 12-point platform for police reforms).

List of freedom of information laws by state

Lists State open records/freedom of information statutes.

National lawyers guild - national police accountability project

The NLG's National Police Accountability Project is a coordinated effort to provide resources and training to local projects nationwide. Some of this website is restricted to members of the NLG (some fee-based services are accessible through the site) but the site includes a free list of research papers on issues in the litigation of police misconduct (downloadable in Word Perfect 8 format), a list of recent court of appeals decisions affecting police accountability, and articles on police practices. The best resource on this site is an extensive list of links and resources, sorted by specific topic headings (at

Police torture in chicago - chicago reader archives

An index to articles by John Conroy about police torture in Chicago. Currently contains articles from as far back as 1990.

The video activist network

Information, resources, and handbooks regarding the documentation and reporting of police misconduct.

View from the ground

An occasional publication of the Invisible Institute-- a set of relationships and ongoing conversations grounded in Stateway Gardens public housing development on Chicago's South Side.

Racial profiling

ACLU and racial profiling

This page contains recent news postings on racial profiling in the US, and has a link to reports about racial profiling that people have submitted to the ACLU. In addition, it has a link to the ACLU's report "Driving While Black" (described below).

ACLU report on racial profiling

"Driving While Black" is a June 1999 report on racial profiling in traffic stops, compiled by Professor David Harris of the University of Toledo College of Law. The report explores the connection between profiling and the misconception that drug offenses are committed primarily by minorities. Harris discusses the political history behind racial profiling as a policy connected with anti-drug measures. It also contextualizes the Whren decision (which allowed for pretextual traffic stops). The article gives an overview of recent media coverage of profiling nationwide, and has excellent statistics on the race of drivers stopped on PA's I-95 (for which the ACLU initiated a class action lawsuit). Finally, the ACLU presents a five-part plan for ending racial profiling which includes ending pretext stops, requiring states to keep traffic stop statistics through the passage of both federal and state laws, end the use of racial-profiling in federal drug interdiction programs, and having America's 50 largest cities keep traffic-stop data statistics.


ACLU and racial equality

This page contains recent postings of news stories involving racial equality, an update of federal legislative actions on equality (as well as background information on federal activity) has links to other related ACLU sites (on racial profiling, affirmative action, the death penalty, educational equality, including ACLU position papers on these issues), and has a list of links to racial equality websites by other organizations. The page also contains a search engine for ACLU news on racial equality.

The chicago reporter - race and poverty in chicago

This well-respected publication has been covering race and poverty issues in Chicago since 1972. Their website includes an electronic edition of their current publication, and a searchable index of all their publications since 1972 (about 400 articles are online now, and more are being added). The index can be searched by topic or by year. This site also hosts an online message board which contains individual postings about current topics (at this writing some of the postings included opinions about the CPD).

Legal services

American bar association guide to legal services

A comprehensive overview of how to obtain legal services, including information on who qualifies for free legal aid or how to obtain pro bono aid, finding and retaining an attorney, information on representing one's self, finding legal information, and what to do about problems with one's current attorney.

Illinois pro bono programs

An ABA list with contact information for pro bono programs in Illinois.

Government organizations

Chicago housing authority

Illinois state general assembly

The official site for the Illinois General Assembly includes member information, committee information, daily calendars, transcripts, voting records, and links to reports, state statutes, and the text of current bills along with their status. A search mechanism on the page allows individuals to enter their address to find out who their state representatives are.

U.S. department of justice civil rights division - special litigation section

The Special Litigation Section of the DOJ handles police misconduct litigation (as authorized by 42 U.S.C. § 14141 and Title VI of the Civil Rights Act). This site includes an overview of the DOJ's actions in this area, examples of consent decrees reached in some of its cases, investigative findings, the DOJ's briefs from certain cases, and opinions in some of its cases.

A good overview of the DOJ's involvement with police misconduct litigation is found on this site at

U.S. department of justice national institute for justice

The National Institute for Justice is the research and development branch of the DOJ. Available online for download (in PDF or ASCII text) are copies of its research publications since 1994. The section on law enforcement publications (at is particularly helpful to the PAP project, particularly the March 2001 publication (181 pages) "Citizen Review of Police: Approaches & Implementation."

The United States commission on civil rights

The USCCR's homepage has links to information about the Commission's history and purpose and links to filing a complaint and doing research at its libraries. Included on the site is a link to the Commission's recent publication "Who is Guarding the Guardians?: A Report on Police Practices and Civil Rights in America." (An index to the publication can be found at

Contacting elected officials

Contacting members of the United States senate

Addresses, emails, and phone numbers for members of the senate are listed here, alphabetically both by name or by state

Votenet: contact information for state and federal elected officials

Votenet's website provides a free version of their publication on contacting elected officials. The site's search engine provides comprehensive contact information for both state and federal elected officials. The site also includes a Congressional Schedule feature that includes daily floor and committee schedules for the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate.


Illinois courts

Illinois court system - official site:
The main page for the Illinois Court System, including links to the Illinois Supreme Court (including its calendar and rules), Appellate Courts, and Circuit Courts. From this site Illinois court opinions from 1996 to the present can be accessed (using the search page at This site also has a good set of links to other court and judicial research sites.

Circuit court of cook county:
The Circuit Court's website includes general information about the court (a helpful overview of its organizational structure is in the "About Circuit Court" section). From the site a directory of judges, court locations, and local agencies and resources (sorted by topic) can also be accessed. Also available are the Circuit Court's Rules and Orders.

Federal courts

Alliance for justice:
Information about the federal judiciary and judicial appointments.

Cornell law school's United States supreme court page:
This site is a great site for researching the United States Supreme Court. It contains a searchable database of all decisions after 1990, and most of the important Supreme Court decisions for the entire period of its existence (all available in PDF format). It also includes the Court's calendar, its rules, information on current and past justices, and a link to the Supreme Court's official site.

United States supreme court 1999-2000 term highlights (florida v. J.L. and police searches):
This page of Cornell's Supreme Court page summarizes the Court's opinions from the 1999-2000 term, with links to the opinions themselves. This includes the case of Florida v. J.L., a Fourth Amendment case that invalidated searches based solely on anonymous tips (a summary and access to that opinion is at

Supreme court of the United States - official site:
This site contains general information about the Court and its procedures and policies, opinions from 1999 and 2000 (including slip opinions), a search engine of the Court's docket, and a list of related websites. However, Cornell Law School's United States Supreme Court page has a larger database and more convenient search engine for accessing Court opinions (at

Seventh circuit court of appeals - official site:
The Seventh Circuit's official site includes a limited database of cases searchable by case number or party name(s). The database includes cases from as far back as 1987. Also easily accessible are a list of recent opinions, the Seventh Circuit's rules and procedures, the docket calendar, and a practitioner's handbook. The site also contains a list of links, sorted by circuit, to all the courts in the federal court system.

US district court, northern district of illinois - official site:
This official site containing a list of judges (with opinions and court calendar sorted by judge), recent opinions, court rules, the court's daily calendar, and court document forms available for download.

RACER U.S. district court case search - northern district of illinois:
The U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois participates in provides real-time access to court records (this is a fee-based service and requires an account). The search page can be used to access real-time docket information on recent district court cases. Some cases also have available for download (in PDF format) images of court memorandum and draft opinions, indictments, minute orders, and complaints.