January Round-Up

I believe Chicago Police Superintendent Jody Weis when he stated in the Sun-Times that the motivation behind dropping the test is about racial disparities involved in outcomes.  What I think people are failing to connect with this proposal is the really low number of officers hired over the last couple of years.  Exact figures are very heard to come by from the Department and media accounts over the last couple of years have varied.  Why would the City have an interest in continuing to administer a test when the reality is that there are no plans on hiring large number of officers anywhere in the future?  There is no reason to continue the test especially considering the past and future expenses related to litigation from test outcomes.


CPD Entrance Exam


The real story is that the city is going to continue to let the ranks of the Chicago Police Department dwindle through retirements and other forms of attrition.  I am not sure if it is a good or bad idea to shrink the size of the Department through this process.  If I thought that the savings would get diverted to social investment that might have the real potential to reduce violence and not get lost in a quagmire of corrupt spending I’d be all for it.

Red Eye & Chicago Homicides (interesting but limited)

It is interesting that a free paper put out by the Chicago Tribune would be the host for this analysis and not the Chicago Tribune itself, but we will leave that to another day.  By Chicago media standards this type of analysis is advanced but is still limited in the depth of the information that is communicated to the public.

Some other pieces of information that would help inform communities:
  • How many of the homicides were cleared (solved) by the CPD?
  • What exactly does it mean when the CPD states that a homicide is “cleared?”
  • How man of those cleared cases result in charges being filed by the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office?
  • How many convictions were won?
  • Of those convicted, what number of those were sentenced?
  • How does the race, gender, ethnicity, and sexuality of the offender and victim effect how the criminal justice system responds and processes these homicides and the cases that result?
  • How does the location of the crime effect how the system responds?
  • You are getting the idea, right?

The criminal justice system is made up of multiple agencies that can be looked upon as layers.  Each layer should be considered when trying to understand how any other individual layer operates.  This map and the print edition ignore the other layers of data even within the CPD when trying to understand the phenomena of homicides in Chicago.  As CJP grows and expands its reach into data from the criminal justice system, analysis like this one will be exposed for how limited it is in providing community members with an understanding of the criminal justice system.   Siloed information from a single agency within the system is a rather limited way to understand any data set.

CJP Note:  2010 will bring further insight to the homicides in Chicago
on a couple different levels – stay tuned!

FOIA Attack Early & Often

For those that have not heard about the attack on the recent new FOIA law (passed last summer and went into effect this Jan 1st) you are not alone.  Unfortunately, a law that started off as a stronger bill than its predecessor has been slowly but surely gutted while no one was looking.  Recently the Illinois General Assembly did just this when it approved (Public Act 096-0861 – copy provided below).  This bill dictates that evaluations of teachers, principals, and superintendents, are exempted from disclosure under Illinois’ Freedom of Information Act.  Why?  Mainly because the teacher unions wanted this provision, you know the feeling.  Why would you want the people you are serving being able to see how you are performing your job?  Hell, they might feel like someone else can do it better than you.  This action has come from our “new open and transparent” General Assembly and Governor.  I wonder what an administration and General Assembly would look like that was against transparency?  Hmmm……….I have a feeling it would look awfully similar.

Author: Tracy SiskaTracy Siska is the Founder and Executive Director of the Chicago Justice Project.
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