FOIA: Public Safety Committee

CJP submitted this request to the Public Safety Committee of the Chicago City Council in a ridiculous continuation of our efforts to figure out who was on this committee from 2000-2020.

For months now CJP is been trying very hard to track what alderman served at any point on the Police and Fire Committee which was renamed to the Public Safety Committee in 2011. We have been stymied at every turn as the City of Chicago seems to be devoid of any information that any normal government agency working in a democracy would maintain.

We have filed 2 requests under Illinois Freedom of Information Act with the Chicago City Clerk’s Office. Remarkably prior to 2011 they don’t maintain any type of list of alderman that served on any City Council Committees. Only in Chicago would you find such a stark level of complete disregard for the basic duties of government.

Request #1

Request #2

Through a hodgepodge of documents maintained by the Clerk we have been able to piece together all the years in our search period with the exception of 2003-2007. So, this is why we have filed this request with the Public Safety Committee today. We are hoping somehow the staff of the Committee is able to piece together a list for us.

We will be using this data for our ongoing research on the Public Safety Committee and what if any oversight of the Chicago Police Department and the police accountability community they have indeed engaged in. We will also be tracking this data by what alderman were on the committee and what if any legislation they proposed and passed during their term on this Committee.

There are many alderman that are very good at complaining about the status quo of policing and justice issues in Chicago but have no track record, sometimes over many years of serving on the Public Safety Committee, of bringing anything to the table to address the very same issues they are complaining about.

Public Safety FOIA Content

To: City Council Committee on Public Safety

Subject: Committee on Police & Fire Membership

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

FOIA A
Documents sufficient to show what Alderman were members of the Police & Fire Committee from May 2003 – May 2007.

FOIA B
Documents sufficient to show the Chairman(s) of the Police & Fire Committee from May 2003 – May 2007.

DEFINITIONS
“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.

INSTRUCTIONS

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.

Author: Tracy Siska

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

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