The Elections Chicago Cannot Afford to Overlook
Chicago’s anti-police movement looks to notch another victory over police
While the City of Chicago has been captivated by approaching mayoral and aldermanic elections scheduled for Feb. 28, another equally important election should demand voters’ rapt attention. Along with choosing Chicago’s next mayor and 50 alderman, voters will also cast ballots for representatives on new, citywide Police District Councils.
Another layer added to the enormous administrative oversight of the Chicago Police Department (CPD), the Police District Councils were established by the Empowering Communities for Public Safety (ECPS) ordinance, which was adopted the Chicago City Council and approved by Mayor Lori Lightfoot in July 2021.
Under the ordinance, a Community Commission for Public Safety and Accountability (CCPSA) creates a seven-member panel, all of whom are chosen by the mayor. The CCPSA’s main responsibilities revolve around input regarding the hire and dismissal of the police superintendent and the selection of candidates for vacancies on both the Police Board and for the chief administrator of the Civilian Office of Police Accountability (COPA). Though candidates proffered by the CCPSA for police superintendent and the Police Board would require mayoral approval and confirmation by the City Council, the Commission reserves the exclusive right to hire or terminate the employment of the chief administration of COPA.
In addition to appointing and terminating public safety officials, CCPSA is also responsible for drafting CPD General Orders, addressing public health, engaging residents for the purpose of strengthening relations with CPD, working toward compliance with the Consent Decree, and increasing transparency regarding CPD operations, policies, and performance.
More broadly, the CCPSA is also liable for oversight of 22 District Councils. Panels comprised of three members for all Chicago’s 22 police districts, each District Council would seat a chair, a member of the Nominating Committee, and a Community Engagement Coordinator. Council members would be paid $500 monthly.
Among the Council’s specific duties include holding monthly meetings, cooperation with Police District commanders to develop community policing initiatives, and engaging with the public. Furthermore, Police Councils would also be responsible for creating and expanding restorative justice programs and, based on experiences, document findings for review by the CCPSA.
Police Council elections are the left’s latest attempt to infiltrate Chicago’s justice system
To hear the political left tell it, the formation of Police District Councils is the culmination of a morally righteous, decades-long crusade to finally bring CPD under the control of citizens. To stir up support for the creation of Police Councils, advocates have spared no effort to portray the creation of the councils as an essential part of democracy and a unique opportunity for residents to offer input and articulate concerns about CPD policy and procedure. Nonetheless, these citizen panels are neither an embodiment of representative democracy nor the result of sober-minded aldermen carefully weighing innovative legislation.
Alternatively, Police Councils are a direct consequence of milquetoast aldermen yielding to Chicago’s anti-police movement. With Chicago on the verge of handing over a portion of control over CPD to irresponsible critics of police, now is an appropriate time to take stock of the movement behind the push for Police Councils and their campaign to incapacitate CPD.
Unlike most political movements which coalesce under one charismatic leader, Chicago’s anti-police movement is a leaderless, horizontal movement with roots in Marxism, anarchism, and socialism. An atomized front, it is a constellation of unions — the CTU and SEIU —elected officials, primarily Democratic Socialists, irascible activists and community groups — Black Lives Matter — and media outlets.
Grudge peddlers, far from authentic, morally grounded ideological movements which prioritize the promotion of ideas, Chicago’s anti-police movement lacks political depth and authenticity and functions only as a vehicle to win elected offices and secure power. Armed with tactics which the movement believes is a substitute for a workable policy, on the ground, anti-police activists spread fear and panic over police aim and intent, hurl anti-police invective, and also issue an endless string of maximalist demands for police reform. The anti-police movement’s tactics are not limited to mere raucous anti-police rhetoric: The movement has also been responsible for periodic episodes of violence.
Though Chicago’s anti-police movement’s messages are clumsy and fictitious, they are amplified by Chicago’s irresponsible and slanted media. In both reporting and biased editorials, Chicago newspapers and television outlets mindlessly parrot the anti-police movement’s angry bombast, often further twisting the truth over police behavior to galvanize popular support for the anti-police movement, and assist in the legitimization of the movement’s goals.
To further aid Chicago’s anti-police movement, the Cook County courts, too, play an important role. A system with few sober, reputable jurists, many of whom have lost the courage to oppose groundless litigation, the fact Cook County judges deliberate over meritless lawsuits has contributed to a “sue and settle” racket. The attempt at extortion, the “sue and settle” racket allows dishonest plaintiffs to enrich themselves at taxpayer expense and anti-police agitators to impose policy through consent degrees.
What befalls the Chicago Police Department befalls residents of Chicago
The elections for Chicago Police Councils are crucial to determining the future effectiveness of CPD so evaluating the suitability of each candidate seeking a council seat is of immediate importance.
Though the field of candidates seeking seats on Police Councils is sprawling, a deep divide separates two groupings of candidates. On one side lies sensible and judicious contenders who will support police and propose practical solutions to problems which will arise. On the other side of this fissure rests deeply unqualified, poisonous candidates, all of whom are backed by the anti-police movement and many of whom are acknowledged “defunders” or favor the abolition of CPD.
Although anti-police candidates will seek the council portraying themselves as fair-minded moderates, if elected, they will not bear the remotest resemblance to the aspirant who campaigned for the council. Buoyed by a series of legislative victories which foisted reform on police, if elected, anti-police candidates will use seats on the councils to weaponize outrage, demonstrate contempt for the political processes defined in the ECPS, and misuse the panels to hector and bring frivolous claims against police. More distressing, if elected, anti-police councilmembers will exploit their position to create non-stop mayhem by endlessly calling for the resignations or dismissals of public safety officials, and demand the City Council cede councils more power.
Chicago’s anti-police movement is not waving a pro-democracy flag nor is it demanding liberties enshrined in either common or statutory law. Quite the opposite, the anti-police movement’s bid for seats on Police Councils is motivated by their intense hatred of police and the law. When Police Councils were created, its architects envisioned the panels would function as a bridge between CPD and residents. However, to the anti-police movement, Police Councils are a revenge fantasy with the single, overriding goal of bringing the Chicago Police Department to its knees.
Those who cannot identify their enemy cannot defeat their enemy. Chicago’s anti-police movement is not a normal adversary, but it is an implacable foe of the law, police, and the law-abiding. Therefore, it is critical for voters concerned with safety on Chicago’s streets to be acutely aware of candidates for councils with an affiliation with or endorsements from far-left “justice” non-profits, Democratic Socialists, progressive groups, Black Lives Matter or the Chicago Teachers Union.
With the Chicago Police Department on its heels, who is placed on Police Councils is vital in determining whether the panel will exist to support police or be utilized by reckless anti-police activists to undo law and order on Chicago streets. The council elections are not simply a rejection of the individual, but a rejection of a baneful ideology.
The cost of ignoring Police Council elections is merely the City of Chicago being overwhelmed by violent crime.