Sharon Fairley on Police Reform in Chicago

SharonThis episode features a discussion with Sharon Fairley who is a professor from practice at the University of Chicago Law School a, former federal prosecutor, and the former chief administrator of the Independent Police Review Authority (IPRA) and Civilian Office of Police Accountability (COPA).

We discuss Sharon’s recent commentary published by the Chicago Tribune titled “Commentary: Police reform steps that must be taken immediately“. Over the hour we will take a deep dive in to her recommendations for police reform while also discussing Mayor Lightfoot’s proposals for police reform.

Towards the end of the interview we do engage in a discussion around the moment we are in now and the potential for real change coming from the calls to de-fund the police. When you get behind the rhetoric and fearmongering associated with the term by many, just engaging in the discussion leads to all kind of possibilities for real solutions to community problems.

There have been experiments around the nation from alternative ways to respond to calls involving people in mental health distress to the most extreme possible response of literally replacing a police agency with a new public safety agency with more social services weaved in to their range of responses.

CJP believes that the Mayor missed a vital opportunity to lead a citywide discussion about how Chicagoans want their city policed and what are the possibilities for standing up alternative social services to respond to a whole host of non-violent calls for police service. Unfortunately Mayor Lightfoot shut down this conversation before it was even able to start.

Her refusal to engage the city in this discussion will certainly limit the range of discussions possible about alternative responses and in fact may shut down the conversation completely. Shutting down the conversation will definitely raise the chances we are back where we are now twenty years from now.

Link to CPD Press Release about Advisory Panel on Community Policing:

Author: Tracy Siska

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

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