As part of our work, the Task Force heard from many current and former CPD officers who are dedicated public servants, committed to performing their duties lawfully and making Chicago a safer place for all of its residents. Serving as a police officer is a challenging and often dangerous job. The police face an increasingly daunting challenge in crime fighting. Illegal guns flood the streets of the same neighborhoods that are devastated by crime, poverty and unemployment. We as a society cannot expect the police to cure every ill in Chicago’s neighborhoods. Yet we put significant pressure on them to solve and prevent crime, as well as to address the manifestations of a number of other daunting social and economic challenges beyond their charge and capacity to manage, let alone solve. Still, a keen appreciation of and sensitivity to these broader issues is critical to effective law enforcement and positive community-police relations.
The findings and recommendations in this report are not meant to disregard or undervalue the efforts of the many dedicated CPD officers who show up to work every day to serve and protect the community. The challenge is creating a partnership between the police and the community that is premised upon respect and recognizes that our collective fates are very much intertwined. Simply put, a more professional, engaged and respectful police force benefits us all. We cannot and have not shied away
from identifying systemic problems or challenges that undermine the efforts of those officers who are sincerely committed to doing their jobs the right way. To be sure, individual officers must own responsibility for not merely their actions each day, but also the reverberating and sometimes corrosive and lingering effect of those actions on citizens. And ultimately, the responsibility for setting the correct course lies with CPD leadership itself.