Sharon Fairley on the Police Reform Steps Chicago Should Take Immediately

Commentary: Police reform steps that must be taken immediately

On Tuesday, Mayor Lori Lightfoot reiterated her commitment to police reform by announcing a set of specific directives to Chicago police Superintendent David Brown that should be implemented as quickly as possible.

Her fervor and sense of urgency is palpable. As a former member of the Chicago Police Board and former head of the Police Accountability Task Force, she knows the challenges we face all too well.

Her acknowledgment that implementation of the consent degree has been too slow was important. Police reform is hard and takes a lot of political courage on the part of police officials and city administrators. Too many cities that were dragged into police reform pursuant to a consent decree have languished under court oversight for more than a decade. Today, we don’t have the luxury of ambling our way toward reform. The pain and frustration that have boiled over into protest cannot be assuaged if we move merely at “all deliberate speed.”

The initiatives highlighted by the mayor are important and necessary. But there is more we must do right now to address the issues that confront us.

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