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Efforts to reform CPD have been adversely affected by staff shortages, the report says

The Chicago Police Department, which is overseeing a sweeping overhaul of the department, is suffering from understaffing that could hinder a court-ordered overhaul of the department, according to the latest report by an independent watchdog.

Maggie Hickey, a former federal prosecutor who is a court-appointed independent monitor, released her latest report on Chicago police reform Wednesday afternoon, which is sweeping and affects all departments.

In a news release accompanying the report, Hickey said the staffing shortage affects the entire department, but she singled out the reform office in particular in her comments.

“Staff reductions at the Chicago Police Department, including its Office of Constitutional Policing and Reform, have slowed the city’s and CPD’s ability to engage with Chicago communities and demonstrate compliance with the Consent Decree,” the release said.

As a result of the staffing issues, “all 10 sections of the consent decree” are affected, according to the release.

In her report, Hickey also noted that police departments across the country are understaffed.

The department released a statement that noted “significant progress” since the reforms began.

“The Chicago Police Department has been and remains committed to continuous improvement through reform. We have intensified our efforts to implement practices and policies that support our officers and build trust in the communities we serve,” the statement said. “We have made significant progress since the consent decree was enacted and are not slowing down as we build on the foundation that has been laid.”

Staffing issues in the department’s constitutional reform unit became an issue in August when Superintendent David Brown fired the office’s executive director, Robert Boyk, days after Boyk raised the same concerns as the monitor — moving staff out of the office to help patrol areas that have stopped b movement for reform.

At the time, Brown announced plans to pull staff from the corrections office to combat spikes in crime.

Boyk asked Brown to reverse the decision, according to an email obtained by the Tribune. Boyk said the changes will result in 21 fewer instructors at the academy, and the department will no longer be able to offer an eight-hour gender-based violence course this year. He also expressed concern about cuts to the crisis intervention training program, according to the email.

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A day later Boyko was fired.

CPD released the following statement after Boyk was fired: “Robert Boyk is no longer an employee of the Chicago Police Department. Apart from that, we do not comment on personnel matters.”

The police department has been under a full consent decree since 2019 following a U.S. Department of Justice investigation into the killing of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald by former Chicago police officer Jason Van Dyke.

The years-long reform is going through three levels of compliance, and training is seen as key to ensuring the new policies are implemented and become part of routine police practice.

In the report, Hickey noted her concern that understaffing would slow the process of demonstrating improvements in police practices in Chicago.

“Staffing and resource issues, for example, have negatively impacted the City’s and CPD’s progress toward providing simultaneous and adequate training, supervision and wellness for employees,” the report said. “This, in turn, has undermined the ability of the City and CPD to demonstrate effective policing practices that respect the rights of all Chicagoans; build trust between officers and the communities they serve; and promote public and officer safety.”


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