CHICAGO—(ENEWSPF)—November 25, 2014. Mayoral Candidate Dr. Amara Enyia said Chicago must demonstrate leadership in implementing community-driven, fiscally responsible public safety policy, especially in light of the events in Ferguson, Missouri. On Monday evening, Enyia attended a rally at Chicago Police Headquarters as the announcement concerning the indictment was made.
“This is our chance to make bold reforms that put people at the center of public safety policy,” Dr. Enyia said. “It’s the only way to restore trust between police and the community.”
Dr. Enyia will push for the use of police bodycams.
“Bodycams not only protect the police, but the public as well,” she said. “Their use makes fiscal sense for this city.”
According to a 2014 article in the Virginia Journal of Criminal Law, from January 2006 through December 2012, the city of Chicago spent $328,000,000 in settlements for 2880 claims of police misconduct. That is an average of just over $46,900,000 per year.
“Instead of taxpayer dollars going to pay these lawsuits, some of those funds could be used to buy bodycams,” she said. “The bodycams serve as an extra layer of accountability that could prevent misconduct as well as protect police officers from frivolous complaints or lawsuits.”
Dr. Enyia also wants to use some of those savings to expand restorative justice as a larger part of the city’s public safety plan.
“Restorative justice diverts individuals from that first contact with the criminal justice system,” Dr. Enyia said. “CPS spends around $52 million for security officers in its 96 high schools, which doesn’t include the cost for police officers. Full implementation of restorative justice programs would cost less than 1% of the CPS budget – roughly $44 million.”
“Diversion means less taxpayer funds spent on incarceration as well as safer schools,” she explained.
Dr. Enyia is also pushing for the creation of an independent police accountability council to replace the current Independent Police Review Authority (IPRA).
“We need more community input and influence in determining how our communities are policed,” she said. “A democratically formed independent council that is representative of the community would provide the vehicle for local input and the independence to ensure that cases are heard.”
Moving Chicago forward requires a vision for a mutually respectful relationship between police and the public and a bold shift in the public safety strategy.