Joe Ferguson on Justice & Corruption in Chicago

On today’s pod we sit down with former Inspector General for the City of Chicago, Joe Ferguson. We discuss a wide range of topics from the city’s failure to release investigative reports generated by his former office to city council corruption to why there is not a single Inspector General Office with oversight over all of the city departments.

Ferguson left office last year after a 12 year run. His tenure covered the last 2 years of the Daley administration, Rahm Emanuel’s two terms, and about 60% of Mayor Lightfoot’s first term. Ferguson aggressiveness in his pursuit to expose graft that is endemic to Chicago has always presented political problems for the politicians within the City Council and the Mayor’s Office.

About 6 years ago the City Council passed legislation creating the Deputy Public Safety Inspector General within his office that empowered the office to reach in to the Chicago Police Department & the police accountability system in Chicago and audit their activities. This has resulted in Ferguson’s office publishing several groundbreaking reports about the failures of the CPD and the police accountability system. Many of which have been discussed on previous episodes featuring interview with Deputy Public Safety Inspector General Deborah Witzburg.

Ferguson has been involved in Chicago politics and corruption long enough that his insight in to Mayor Lightfoot and Superintendent David Browns actions are certainly informed. The Mayor could not hid her contempt for Ferguson or the office during her short time in office. It was so bad that when she announced his permanent replacement she just couldn’t help herself and had to blurt out about the need for Witzburg and the office to stay in their lane. A clear threat to not mess with the big boss.

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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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