Chicago, IL – One candidate for mayor of Chicago has said that if she’s elected, she will dismantle the gang database and cancel construction of a new police and fire academy.
“Our highest priority is curriculum and content, not buildings and amenities,” Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle told the Chicago Sun Times.
Democrat Preckwinkle said that, if elected, she planned to call a halt to the construction a $95 million police and fire academy and focus instead of overhauling the training curriculum of the police department.
“When I was first elected as president of the county, we put a hold on our capital projects to look at how they relate to our priorities. We need to look at this,” she said. “We need to improve training, but the question is do we need a new facility to do that.”
She said she planned to implement the Chicago police consent decree which will require significant retraining for officers.
Preckwinkle’s plan – called “Building a Safer Chicago” – is focused on a creating a more “accountable and effective” police department, the Chicago Sun Times reported.
She plans to create a Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice to oversee law enforcement task forces.
The office would also be tasked with overseeing community leaders and subject experts who are responsible for coming up with solutions to public safety issues, including gun violence, juvenile justice and neighborhood stabilization, according to the Chicago Sun Times.
Preckwinkle’s plan is modeled after the New York City office of the same name.
She said she plans to get rid of the city’s gang database because it is made up of mostly people of color, and claims there was “no criteria for how to get on it and many don’t know if they’re on it and there’s no way to get off of it.”
“It’s part of the culpability of the Police Department,” Preckwinkle said. “People don’t know how they got there and it’s used to damage their lives. That’s a real challenge to police-community relations.”
The candidate’s plan called for changes to the behavior of Chicago police across the board, but has assigned no responsibility to the criminals in the city.
If elected, she has said she will terminate Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson, the Chicago Sun Times reported.
Preckwinkle said she would support a proposal for a Community Commission for Public Safety and Accountability.
The seven-member commission that she supports would be elected by the public and have the authority to appoint the Chicago Police Board, the chief administrator of the Civilian Office of Police Accountability, and recommend candidates for superintendent of the Chicago Police Department, the Chicago Sun Times reported.
Preckwinkle also said she would put more resources into Chicago Alternative Policing Strategy (CAPS) to help rebuild trust between the police and the community.
“We have to have leadership in the department that actively works to root out [the code of silence in the Police Department],” she said. “If we look at the devastating stories of actions by Jon Burge, [Detective Reynaldo] Guevara and Sergeant Ronald Watts, those folks were protected by their fellow officers. We have to create a police department where bad conduct isn’t tolerated.”
Preckwinkle pointed to her history of supporting criminal justice reform as one of her qualifications for mayor.