Professors Futterman and Fairley Comment on Proposed Arbitration Process for Chicago Police

Arbitrating police terminations could result in a ‘decade of police impunity’

A potential change in the way Chicago police officers appeal disciplinary charges could result in secret hearings, more officers getting off the hook for misconduct, and an overall breakdown in the city’s newly strengthened police oversight infrastructure. 

That’s according to city officials, from Mayor Brandon Johnson to Inspector General Deborah Witzburg to police board chair Ghian Foreman, and experts who worked on the consent decree between the Chicago Police Department (CPD) and the Illinois Attorney General’s office.

The change would allow most officers facing serious disciplinary charges—terminations and suspensions longer than a year—to have their cases heard by an arbitrator, rather than the Chicago Police Board (CPB). The CPB currently holds public trial-like hearings for officers facing serious discipline, and the board members consider those cases during monthly public meetings.

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