Probation for Convicted Ex-Cop Elkins Appropriate?

On today’s show our main segment we cover the sentence of probation that 47 year-old former Chicago police officer Erik Elkins received as part of plea agreement. Elkins was arrested for his role in a bar fight and charged with several felony counts. In the end the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office and Elkins reached a plea agreement that includes Elkins pleading guilty to 2 misdemeanor counts for which he received sentence of probation, 40 hours of community service, and he agreed to a ban from being employed as a law enforcement officer.

Here is some context about the former Chicago police officer’s history on the wrong side of the law.

The question in this case is Elkins plea agreement just when considering what others who have committed similar crimes have had to endure as part of their plea agreements. Well, the short answer is we really have no idea because the court does not release any data on sentences and plea agreements. This leaves the public powerless to asses the validity of Elkins sentence in this case. The justice system should prioritize publishing mean sentences based on crime type and plea agreement terms. Without this it is simply too easy for ideology to steer people looking at the sentence to believe it was too stiff or lienient.

Now as we discuss in this podcast there is also the other issue of whether or not Elkins should have been held to a higher standard than any regular resident of Chicago that might commit similar acts. There is a strong case to be made that officers who are trained to use violence and have the legal authority to use deadly force should be held to a higher standard when breaking many laws.

Also on the show today:

  • Tribune story on guns stolen from Wisconsin gun shop
  • Washington Post story on officer who shot friend and CPD coverup

Video 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.

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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.

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