A new survey finds public perception of the Chicago Police Department is waning compared to where it stood more than two years ago.
The latest survey, which was filed in federal court this week by the Independent Monitoring Team is part of the ongoing consent decree reached with Chicago police, which aims to enact reforms into how the department polices its citizens and interacts with them.
Previously, people of color in Chicago had reported more use of force and negative interactions with the department.
More than 1,400 Chicagoans took part in the latest survey, which was completed last year.
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The survey included slightly more participants than the original survey completed in 2020.
Results revealed that race and ethnicity were strongly associated with Chicagoans’ perceptions of and experiences with Chicago police.
Among this latest survey’s findings:
- Young Black men between the ages of 18 and 25 gave CPD its' lowest ratings, followed by Black, Latino and white Chicagoans. While white residents were more positive towards Chicago police, their responses remained less favorable than they were in the previous survey.
- 52.2% of Chicagoans said that Chicago police officers are doing a “poor” or “very poor” job at treating members of the Black community fairly.
- In contrast, 73% of those surveyed rated CPD as “good” or “very good” for their fairness towards white citizens.
- Black and young Black men (defined as between ages 18 to 25) reported having more involuntary contact with Chicago police, including stops, more frequent use of force and gun-pointing compared to other groups.
However, some of the responses were more nuanced.
For example, fewer young Black men reported use of force encounters than during the previous survey, but those interactions were still higher than compared to other groups.
White and Latino Chicagoans had less favorable perceptions of police than they did two years prior.
And while Black Chicagoans still had “the most negative responses when compared to other groups,” Black residents gave the department higher ratings than what was recorded in the previous survey, with fewer negative and greater neutral responses, according to survey.
State Rep. and former mayoral candidate Kam Buckner said the survey results are an indication that police reform efforts need to improve and that the next hire for CPD Superintendent is critical.
“We have to use that as a baseline to start to build trust. It’s not the end-all be-all, we have to go a step further,” Rep. Buckner said.
Buckner told NBC5 Investigates that the survey results “aren’t surprising.”
“It’s important for us to look at these numbers deeply,” Buckner added. “The complaints and the conversations about use of force, as you said were lower, but those kind of negative ratings were still there. I think it begs the question, or puts us in a position where we have to figure out, is making or reducing use of force incidents, reducing some of these things that many of us have fought against for a long time, is that in and of itself, is that enough? I think the answer is obviously no, right?”
While respondents still said that police make their neighborhood “more safe” or “a lot more safe,” it was still a lower proportion than in the 2020 survey.
Additionally, 43% of Chicagoans, a higher percentage than two years prior, were also “doubtful” or “very doubtful” that police reform would have a lasting or positive effect.
When asked for a response, CPD sent the following statement:
“We appreciate the Independent Monitoring Team’s work to amplify the voices of those we serve through the Community Survey Report. To achieve the lasting transformational change envisioned by the City and CPD in entering into the consent decree, it is imperative that we hear from our community members. The Monitor’s Community Survey Report speaks to the efforts required of CPD to work collaboratively with the communities we serve to rebuild their trust and confidence. As the Report reflects, this work has been made even more challenging because of the decline in the public's confidence in law enforcement nationally since 2020."
"CPD continues its work to address feedback included in the Community Survey Report through programs like the Neighborhood Policing Initiative, which focuses on building trust with residents through proactive problem-solving. We are also developing a three-year Racial Equity Action Plan (REAP), with support from the City's Office of Equity and Racial Justice, to identify strategies and actions for the Department to take to strengthen equity and constitutional policing for everyone served by CPD. The draft REAP plan is open for public comment, and the input gathered will help inform the final plan. As the Community Survey Report highlights, CPD needs to pay particular attention to young black men who have the most police contact. Additionally, CPD looks forward to working closely with the Community Commission for Public Safety and Accountability and the recently elected District Councils to develop and implement Department policies that move CPD to the forefront of community-engaged and directed policing.”