Arbitration or disciplinary hearings: That is the question facing the City of Chicago when cops face major disciplinary disciplinary charges, often with both their badges and public trust in policing on the line.
Arbitration hearings are held in secret. Police board disciplinary hearings are open to the public. That’s the key distinction when it comes to public confidence in Chicago’s police force.
Craig Futterman, a University of Chicago law professor who runs the law school’s Civil Rights and Police Accountability Project, said the state labor law requires arbitrators to take into account several factors, including the public interest in access to hearings. “The arbitrator must weigh a series of factors, and right at the the top, in terms of the paramount factor, is the public interest."
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