Business as Usual as OEMC Forces CJP to File Suit

The City of Chicago’s continues to hide data about police activities 9 months after what should have been a watershed moment for justice system transparency in Chicago.

oemcDespite all the promises from the Emanuel administration about a pre- and post-McDonald shooting way of doing justice related business in the City, the Office of Emergency Management and Communications (OEMC) has not missed a beat hiding their data from the public. Sadly nothing has changed but the excuses they use.

On January 1 of this year the Chicago Justice Project filed a request seeking four years of police calls for service data from OEMC. After several weeks the data was provided to us but OEMC did not include the data dictionary defining the column headers. After examining the data CJP asked OEMC for the data dictionary and was told we would have to file a another FOIA request for the document that would allow us to understand what the data we recently received from OEMC actually means.

We filed our request and received a denial based on the fact that OEMC was barred from releasing the document because it would reveal trade secrets of Northrup Grumman, the software supplier.

We filed still another request for any document from Northrup Grumman that OEMC possessed that stated they were barred from releasing the data dictionary. They fulfilled this request and supplied a letter from Northrup Grumman dated after our requests were filed with OEMC.

Obviously the City of Chicago is determined to continue to conduct business as usual. It is clear from the actions of the officials at OEMC that they are still operating under the “hide anything and everything” you can from the public by any means necessary.  This way of operating cannot stand.

Today we filed our complaint in Cook County Circuit Court to confront these practices and to open OEMC’s data once and for all. You can download a copy of the complaint here.

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