The Policing Project, with funding from The Joyce Foundation and the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, is working to give the public voice in how it is policed. This week, the Grassroots Alliance for Police Accountability (GAPA) revealed its plans for an ordinance that would create a Citizens Commission for Public Safety and Accountability. The Policing Project was pleased to lend its expertise to the GAPA group as it worked through what a citizen police commission could look like. Early news reports show a wide range of reactions to the GAPA proposal, but as GAPA itself made clear, the ordinance language was intended as a starting place for conversation—all involved, including here at the Policing Project, know that there will be substantial changes to the ordinance before passage. Still, the Policing Project supports democratic voice in policing, and is excited by this step in that direction.
At the same time, the Policing Project’s primary responsibility in Chicago is partnering with the Chicago Police Department to pilot a Neighborhood Policing and Community Engagement Initiative in two districts in Chicago. These initiatives will bring an intensive form of community policing to these districts. And, the Policing Project is working to bring the community to the table with CPD in those districts to have genuine input into defining priorities for policing and what form it takes. CPD has chosen Districts 3 and 25. We already have helped bring those commanders and other top brass to New York to learn about the NYPD’s Neighborhood Policing approach. We also have met with the staff and with community leaders in each district. The Policing Project currently is hiring someone in Chicago to work on this project.