Who disciplines rogue police?

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photo courtesy of flickr/litherland

A logical person might conclude that the Chicago Police Superintendent Jody Weis has full power to punish his cops for breaking the law or violating the rules of police conduct. That logical person would be wrong.

Chicago police superintendents can
only make “recommendations.” And in the past 10 years, 63 percent of
the 248 terminations and suspensions they’ve recommended have been
overturned by the Chicago Police Board, according to an investigation
by the Chicago Justice Project. Twenty percent of the time, this board
recommended that the police officer be returned to duty, the
investigation found.
The police board is an
independent civilian body whose members receive annual stipends ranging
from $15,000 to $25,000. They’re not the final arbiters of a rogue
officer’s fate. The superintendent or the embattled officer can appeal
the board’s decision to the Circuit Court of Cook County. But the
police board has a lot of power, without sufficient accountability, the
investigation found. 
It’s hard to determine
why the board overturns recommendations, the investigation found,
because it doesn’t produce written decisions explaining its rulings.

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