THE MAYOR PICKS LIGHTFOOT TO LEAD POLICE DISCIPLINE PANEL
THE MAYOR PICKS LIGHTFOOT TO LEAD POLICE DISCIPLINE PANEL ON APPROVAL TRACK
The Mayor’s choice to head up the civilian panel with final say on whether Chicago cops get fired for misconduct won the endorsement Tuesday of the City Council Public Safety Committee.
Lori Lightfoot will head up the nine-member panel that determines whether police superintendent recommendations to fire or suspend officers for 31 or more days will stand.
The appointment comes at a crucial time when police relations with African-Americans are broken and under national scrutiny.Freshman Ald. Chris Taliaferro, 29th, a former police sergeant who represents the Austin neighborhood, said his part of the city is experiencing the highest level he’s ever seen “of disconnect of trust between the community and the Police Department.”
To Taliaferro’s remark, Lightfoot said “It’s important for us to demonstrate to the public that we understand their concerns, that we take those concerns seriously.”
Perhaps the different prespective is just what Chicago needs. Sure sounds like it. Lightfoot pledged to approach each case with the aim of being fair to both sides, but did indicate that lying by police officers would not be tolerated. “If a case comes before the Police Board, and there is evidence that an officer has lied, whether on or off duty, my view is that officer should be terminated,” she said. “Police departments all across the country, and this one is no different, have a ‘lie, you die’ rule.”
Lightfoot knows her way around the police headquarters and City Hall. She served for two years as head of the Office of Professional Standards — now the Independent Police Review Authority — which receives initial complaints of police misconduct under former Mayor Richard M. Daley. She also worked for Daley as an attorney for the Office of Emergency Management and a deputy commissioner in the department that oversees contracts. She’s currently a partner in the Mayer Brown law firm.