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Police Accountability

Impact for Equity’s Police Accountability program seeks to increase public safety and promote racial justice. We are working to enact systemic police reforms, including by strengthening the police accountability system, promoting community safety, improving police practices, reimagining the roles that police departments and other entities play in producing public safety, and transforming the relationship between the police department and the communities it serves. In all our work, we are committed to ensuring that those most directly affected by the reforms play an active role in developing them.

Read OUR Issue Brief: THE State of SAFE-T ACT – Assessing the Promise of Body-Worn Cameras

The Safety, Accountability, Fairness and Equity-Today Act (SAFE-T Act) is an omnibus piece of legislation passed in 2021 that reforms multiple laws, including laws governing policing practices. Using research, analysis, and investigation, Impact for Equity is evaluating the impact of the SAFE-T Act’s reforms related to policing behavior and public safety and will report its findings in a series of issue briefs.

This report is the first in the SAFE-T Act series, focusing on the effectiveness of law enforcement body-worn cameras using data from the Chicago Police Department and other police oversight agencies.

Learn more about our work on traffic stops

  

       

Watch the problem with traffic stops in chicago

Watch alternatives to the current traffic safety system

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Community Oversight

Impact for Equity is working extensively with the Grassroots Alliance for Police Accountability (GAPA), a coalition of community-based organizations. In July 2021, the Chicago City Council passed the “Empowering Communities for Public Safety” ordinance, that fundamentally reimagines the relationship between the Chicago Police Department and the communities it serves. Impact for Equity worked closely with GAPA to develop and advocate for the ordinance that will create a citywide community commission with power to bring about systemic reform. The community commission will play a major role in selecting key leaders, including the Police Superintendent; set strategic goals and priorities for the Police Department; and set Police Department policy—helping to ensure that policies and priorities are rooted in expert knowledge about best practices, and grounded in the needs and values of the community. The ordinance will also create elected, three-member “District Councils” in each of the city’s police districts. District Councils will work to bring together police department district leadership and community members to set local priorities for the district and work together on plans to make the neighborhood safer. Impact for Equity is working with GAPA and community partners to ensure that the ordinance is implemented effectively.

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Reimagining Public Safety

Impact for Equity envisions communities in which all residents are safe, have access to effective resources, and are treated with respect by government and law enforcement. In order to achieve this vision, we are reimagining public safety. Reimagining public safety involves asking how we can make better use of public resources to keep people safe and healthy. For example, there’s a growing consensus that relying on police departments to address social issues like mental illness, substance use, and homelessness is ineffective and sometimes counterproductive or even harmful. We’re examining the appropriate role of the police in creating public safety and what other entities should be engaged to address community challenges and opportunities. Our reimagining public safety work is focused on producing safer communities, reducing racial biases and inequities in policing, expanding provision of vital services to all communities, and creating opportunities for more people to participate in determining how best to produce public safety.

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Reform of Police Union Contracts

Police union contracts can be a significant impediment to police accountability. Among other things, police union contracts can make it harder for people to report police misconduct and easier for police officers to lie about misconduct, and they sometimes require that information about police misconduct be ignored and destroyed. Impact for Equity is partnering with the Coalition for Police Contracts Accountability, a coalition of community and civil rights organizations pushing for police union contracts that provide for reform, accountability, and transparency. At the city and state level, we are pushing for police contracts that protect every police officer’s right to be treated fairly and justly if they are accused of misconduct, while also protecting every person’s right to be treated fairly and justly by the officers who are sworn to serve and protect them.

Reports & Publications

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Reports

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