The Police Accountability Task Force established Working Groups to bring together a broad, diverse group of individuals who have important perspectives and information to share. The Working Groups met with many of the people and organizations in Chicago who have been addressing these issues, or are experts in the five areas that the Task Force explored. Together, with input from the community, they determined what is happening now, what should be happening and the impediments to change.


The five focus areas include:


How do we provide transparency in a timely fashion while ensuring that investigations are solid so that officers who abuse their authority are held accountable?

We developed a common sense policy for videotape evidence related to serious police actions such as police-involved shootings and deaths in custody.

LEAD: Sergio Acosta, Attorney, Hinshaw & Culbertson LLP

Working Group Members:

Joel Bertocchi, Attorney, Hinshaw & Culbertson LLP; Barry Miller, Former AUSA and Former Executive Director, Illinois Torture Inquiry and Relief Commission; Lisa Plaza, Paralegal, Hinshaw & Culbertson LLP; Randy Samborn, Senior Vice President, LEVICK Strategic Communications; Jeff Urdangen, Professor, Northwestern University; Adam Vaught, Attorney, Hinshaw & Culbertson LLP.


How should Chicago police officers de-escalate situations so that they use an array of options and the use of force is not a primary option?

We examined current Chicago Police Department policies, procedures and practices relating to de-escalation training, techniques, reporting and documentation and comparing them to best practices from around the country.

LEAD: Alexa James, Executive Director, National Alliance on Mental Illness

Working Group Members:

Fred Coffey, Former Deputy, Chicago Police Department; Harold Pollack, Professor, University of Chicago School of Social Services Administration; Carolyn Vessel, CEO/President, TRIM; Amy Watson, Associate Professor, University of Illinois – Chicago; Ronnie Watson, Chief of Police, Chicago State University.


How do we bridge the current gulf in relations between the police and the communities they serve, and instill respectful relations as a policing imperative?

We reviewed policy, strategy, training and other issues related to community policing. We recommended ways to develop genuine community engagement, based on understanding and respect. This includes methods to uncover and address bias—both conscious and unconscious.

LEAD: Randolph Stone, Clinical Professor, University of Chicago

Working Group Members:

Keith Ahmad, First Assistant Public Defender, Public Defender’s Office; Karina Ayala-Bermejo, Executive Director, Legal Aid Society of Metropolitan Family Services; Todd Belcore, Chicago International Social Change Film Festival; Amy Campanelli, Public Defender, Public Defender’s Office; Herschella Conyers, Clinical Professor of Law, University of Chicago Law School; Victor Dickson, President and CEO, Safer Foundation; Sol Flores, Executive Director, La Casa Norte; Craig Futterman, Clinical Professor of Law, University of Chicago Law School; Steve Gates, Director, Youth Advocate Program; Bennie Lee, Center for Inner City Studies; Sybil Madison-Boyd, Learning Pathways Director, Digital Youth Network, DePaul University; Xavier McElrath-Bey, Youth Justice Advocate, Campaign for the Fair Sentencing of Youth & Co-Founder and Coordinator, ICAN; Jonathan Peck, Restorative Justice Coordinator, Alternatives, Inc.; Howard Safford, President, Positive Anticrime Trust; Rabbi Michael Siegel, Senior Rabbi, Anshe Emet Synagogue; Wes Skogan, Professor, Northwestern University; Eliza Soloweij, Executive Director, First Defense Legal Aid; Debra Wesley, Founder and President, Community Outreach Sinai Institute; Richard Wooten, President/CEO, Gathering Point Council.


What is the best way to design a personnel management system that identifies, rewards and models exemplary behavior?

Included in these recommendations are defined processes for flagging problem behaviors and intervening at the earliest possible stage.

LEAD: Lori E. Lightfoot, Partner, Mayer Brown LLP

Working Group Members:

Craig Chico, Executive Director, Back of the Yards Neighborhood Council; Monica Haslip, Executive Director, Little Black Pearl; Daniel O’Neil, Executive Director, Smart Chicago Collaborative; Julia Quinn, University of Chicago Crime Lab; David Williams, Regional Director, Youth Advocate Program; Shelia Bedi, Clinical Associate Professor of Law, Northwestern University and Attorney, Roderick and Solange MacArthur Justice Center.


What legal infrastructure may be standing in the way of the City’s ability to implement the recommendations designed to bring about real change?

We analyzed state statutes, collective bargaining agreements, general orders, ordinances and other policies and procedures that might be an impediment to true accountability, and recommended changes.

LEAD: Maurice Classen, Program Director, MacArthur Foundation

Working Group Members:

Anthony Beale, Alderman, 9th Ward, City of Chicago: Locke Bowman, Clinical Professor of Law, MacArthur Justice Center; Mark Flessner, Partner, Holland and Knight LLP; Adam Gross, Director of Justice Reform, Business and Professional People for the Public Interest; Janine Hoft, Attorney, People Law’s Office; Kwame Raoul, State Senator, 13th District, State of Illinois; Ron Safer, Attorney; Gretchen Slusser, Thred Partners; Freya Rigterink, Assistant Inspector General, City of Chicago Office of the Inspector General.