Deborah Witzburg Extended Interview

Today’s we sit down with Deborah Witzburg, the Deputy Inspector General for Public Safety. We discuss her report from June 2020 titled “Review of the CPD Management and production of records” and her recent follow up report that looks in to what if any of the recommendations within the report the Chicago Police Department has started implement. The latest report is titled “Follow-up:  Review of the CPD Management and production of records”

Both the initial report and this follow report from Witzburg document a police department that is a very complex organization whose internal processes regarding data collect and record retention are antiquated, non-existent, or broken. Many of Witburg’s recommendations from the initial report have been ignored by the CPD or they have taken no meaningful steps to correct the problems documented within the report.

As we discuss with Witzburg in this extended interview the problems identified harm the people litigating against the CPD as the agency has no guidelines or quality control measures in place to make sure the CPD is living up to their obligations to fulfill subpoenas. The practices also harm the organization goals of the CPD because they cannot harness the power of the records and data they create on a regular basis because the agency fails to have procedures and guidelines in places that would allow them to do so.

Witzburg’s two reports document an agency being run by Superintendent David Brown that has little concern for fixing the broken management system within the agency. Brown was brought in by another supposed reformer who turned out to be anything but, Mayor Lori Lightfoot. One would think the lack of progress by the CPD to address the faults that Witzburg identified would be a major concern. Instead it is not even acknowledged by the Mayor or her office.

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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