CPD’s Broken Grievance System

The Chicago Police Department’s broken grievance system has allowed abusive officers to either greatly reduce their exposure to discipline and in some case completely remove it form their records. The rules governing the system are outlined in the contracts between the CPD and the various unions that represent the sworn officers within the CPD.

CJP was informed many years ago by a high level source within the Independent Police Review Authority that the system is so broke that most officers automatically grieve their cases and that the CPD loses in arbitration so much that the they had resorted in to almost always just reducing or eliminating the discipline without going to the arbitrator. This practice of course incentivizes officers to grieve any discipline that they ever face.

On today’s show we feature an interview with Deborah Witzburg who is the Deputy Inspector General for Public Safety. She authored a recent report titled “Review of the Disciplinary Grievance Procedure for Chicago Police Department Members”. The report backs up much of what CJP has been told through the years about the grievance system.

The grievance process if purposely opaque so that it shields the public from learning that in many, many cases the CPD either outright reduces the discipline or an arbitrator, that must selected through mutual agreement, reduces the discipline through their almost absolute power. This is a process that is in desperate need of transparency so that the public can learn the real details about just how much the police accountability system fails the residents of Chicago and the good officers within the CPD.

Also on the show today:

  • Why cops have been quitting in droves
  • Thin Blue lies behind crime wave hype
  • Why we shouldn’t expect much from Biden’s plan to counter crime

Images used on today’s show

Video’s from today’s show

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.

Recommended Articles

Chicago Justice Podcast

This is our Chicago Justice Podcast that covers crime, violence, and justice issues in Chicago. We will feature deep dives in to justice system data, interview with researchers and justice system reform advocates, as well as evaluations of justice system practices.

Subscribe To CJP's Latest Updates

Sign up today for insider details about our advocacy & litigation campaigns!


You can unsubscribe at any time. We will never sell or share your information.