Chicagoans need a voice in ensuring public safety in our own communities
Police violence is a public health crisis that disproportionately harms Black and Brown people and other marginalized communities that we care for at Howard Brown Health.
In 2016, the Police Accountability Task Force issued a recommendation to increase community oversight of Chicago police as a critical step to increase accountability. Since then, two grassroots coalitions, the Civilian Police Accountability Council (CPAC) and the Grassroots Alliance for Police Accountability (GAPA), have advanced two primary proposals to create civilian oversight of police. Unfortunately, these proposals have been continuously blocked and stalled, all while Black and Brown communities continue to be ravaged by law enforcement violence.
We cannot afford to wait any longer. We need police accountability now, and Chicagoans deserve to have a voice in advancing restorative justice and ensuring public safety within our own communities. Recognizing this urgency, CPAC and GAPA came together earlier this year to unify their proposals into the Empowering Communities for Public Safety (ECPS) ordinance. ECPS would:
- Create the Community Commission on Public Safety, a seven-member body nominated by elected community members. This Commission would play a central role in selecting and removing the Police Superintendent, Police Board members, and the COPA Chief Administrator.
- Setting police policies so that they align with best practices and community needs
- Making budget recommendations
- Identifying policing alternatives for addressing violence
- Promoting community engagement and transparency.
- Provides an opportunity on the 2022 primary ballot for Chicago voters to further expand the powers of the Commission and create a more democratic police accountability system.
ECPS is backed by a broad coalition of community members and organizations, as well as the Chicago City Council Latino, Progressive, and Black Caucuses.
In our work to advance health equity, we must continue to push for comprehensive, community-driven, and restorative strategies for ensuring public safety. That is why Howard Brown supports ECPS as a critical step towards police accountability. We also recognize that this work must be done alongside continued efforts to dismantle structural racism embedded in carceral systems.
Learn more about the Empowering Communities for Public Safety ordinance here: