Chicago Police Board FOIA for Discipline Data

The Chicago Police Board has a very unprofessional practice of categorizing the type of misconduct for which the officer has been accused of for statistical reporting purposes but refuses to attach that categories to individual cases. This of course is being done on purpose so that for instance we cannot track how the Board handles certain types of cases by category and then tracing those results to individual cases.

This is just another sign of how bankrupt the police accountability system is in Chicago. There is no reason to not report this data unless the Chicago Police Board is trying to hide the details of their operations from the public. Just another in a long line of obfuscation tactics that the Chicago Police Board and the police accountability system in Chicago has used throughout the years to hide what they do.

Police BoardFor access to charges and decisions from the Chicago Police board going back to 1999 please visit our Chicago Police Board Information Center here. We are currently updating the website with data from the year 1998. We are also developing an entire analytics section for the site.

You will see that we also are asking for copies of the Chicago Police Board’s annual reports. We are using this data in some research we are doing on the operations of the Chicago police accountability system.

Police Board FOIA Content

To:  Chicago Police Board

Subject:  Chicago Justice Project FOIA – Annual Reports

In accordance with the Illinois Freedom of Information Act, 5 ILCS 140, I request that your office provide the following public records: 

FOIA A: Please provide digital copies of the Board’s annual reports for the years of 1980-2003.

FOIA B: Please provide documents sufficient to show the case categorization or “Primary Charges (Investigation)”  for each case for which the Board rendered a judgment or had an officer resign prior to the Board rendering its final decision for the years 1998-2020.As an example I have attached an image labeled as Appendix A – A chart from the Board’s 2019 Annual Report – page 9.

“Document” and/or “Documents” means any documents or electronically stored information of any kind—including writings, drawings, graphs, charts, photographs, sound recordings, images, and other data or data compilations—stored in any medium from which information can be obtained either directly or, if necessary, after translation by the responding party into a reasonably usable form.

”Board” – means the Chicago Police Board 


If the agency withholds any document or information pertinent to the requests made herein, please identify the document or information in as much detail as is possible, and detail in specific language why each document or piece of information is being withheld.

If any information requested herein is withheld on the basis of a claim of privilege or other protection as material prepared in anticipation of litigation or trial, then that claim shall be made expressly in a writing that describes the nature of the Documents, Communications, or Things not produced or disclosed in a manner that will enable us to assess the applicability of the privilege or protection. With regard to each claim of privilege or protection, the following information should be provided in the response or the objection:

(a) the type of Document, e.g., letter or memorandum;

(b) general subject matter of the Document;

(c) the date of the Document;

(d) such other information as is sufficient to identify the Document for a subpoena duces tecum, including, where appropriate, the author, addressee, and any other recipient of the Document, and, where not apparent, the relationship of the author, addressee, and any other recipient to each other; and

(e) the nature of the privilege or protection;

(f) if applicable, the litigation or trial of which he document was created in anticipation.

If any Document identified herein has been lost, discarded, or destroyed, each such Document should be identified as completely as possible, including as to each such Document, its date, general nature (e.g., letter, memorandum, telegram, telex, photograph, computer printout), subject matter, each author or originator, each person indicated as an addressee or copy recipient, and its former custodian(s). In addition, as to each such Document, the following information shall be supplied:

(a) date of disposal, loss, or destruction;

(b) manner of disposal, loss, or destruction;

(c) reason for disposal or destruction, or any explanation of loss;

(d) persons authorizing the disposal or destruction;

(e) persons having knowledge of the disposal, destruction, or loss; and

(f) persons who destroyed, lost, or disposed or the Document or Thing.
I look forward to hearing from you in writing within five working days, as required by the Act 5 ILCS 140(3).  Please direct all questions or responses to this FOIA request to this email address by responding to this email.  

Appendix A

Police Board


11/9 – Max,

Thanks for sending these materials. We reviewed the data provided in the following documents.

  • Siska FOIA Cases 1998-2009
  • PBCaseData20200930

For the Siska FOIA Cases document the subcategory is clearly detailed through a single field that lists the subcategory code associated with each case. 

In the PBCaseData document the subcategory codes is not listed. In fact, the Primary Charges Field contains a mixture of main category, subcategory, and miscellaneous labels. While the miscellaneous labels may seem apparent to you they are not to the public. 

We think it would be in the public interest if you could clearly label each case with the subcategory code moving forward. This would eliminate any possibility of the public accidentally mislabeling categories. 

Also, we would respectfully request that you review the attached documents and please label the cases we have listed with the corresponding subcategory. 

Please let me know if you have any questions regarding our request. 


Problem Doc to Police Board

Problems with CPB Data

10/19 – Dear Mr. Siska,

I write in response to your Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request (re-printed below).

Attached to this message are the following records you requested:

  • The Police Board’s annual reports for the years of 1989-2003 (I found no annual reports for the years before 1989); and
  • Two spreadsheets that show the “Primary Charges” for the years 1998 through 2020–one spreadsheet, which is available on the Board’s website, includes all cases filed since 2010; the second spreadsheet includes information for the prior years (a key to the codes used on this spreadsheet is also attached).

Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions regarding this response.

Max A. Caproni

Executive Director

Chicago Police Board

Complaint Categories

CPB Report 1989

CPB Report 1990

CPB Report 1991-1992

CPB Report 1993-1994

CPB Report 1997-1999

CPB Report 2000-2001

CPB Report 2002-2003


Siska FOIA Cases 1998-2009

Tracy has nearly two decades of experience researching and working within criminal justice systems. When Tracy began pursuing a career dedicate to system reform, he found that no single organization existed to promote evidence-based discussions among law enforcement agencies and the communities they serve. Recognizing that citizens in Chicago deserved the right to demand transparency in their criminal justice system, Siska established the Chicago Justice Project. He received his Master of Arts degree in Criminal Justice at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

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