The Chicago Journal

The Chicago Police prepares new database policy

The Chicago Police Department will roll out a new system that tracks and identifies citizens if they are gang members.

The system comes after more than three years after a city watchdog warned the records were riddled with errors, ripe for abuse and racially profiled Blacks and Latinos.

Meetings for the plan

The plan is expected to go ahead despite opposition from the Interim Community Commission on Public Safety and Accountability.

They are due to meet virtually on late November 28 to discuss the new draft policy for the new gang database.

The database is called Criminal Enterprise Information System or CEIS.

Commission Chairman Anthony Driver said the department informed the Commission early last month that they would roll out the new system on October 28.

Mayor Mori Lightfoot has appointed Driver in his position.

The initial meeting between commissioners and department officials left Driver with more questions than answers.

Additionally, Driver said the Commission asked to delay the launch of the system.

Efforts to schedule more meetings were unsuccessful.

As a result, on November 7, the new draft policy for the Gang Database Policy was posted on the Chicago Police Department website.

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Citizens of Chicago have until next week, on December 7, to weigh the rules.

However, the rules appear to be the same as the draft policy published in November last year due to the policy never being finalized.

“The public has a right to be informed,” said Anthony Driver.

He added that while Inspector General Deborah Witzburg’s office plans to attend Monday’s meeting, Chicago Police Superintendent David Brown did not respond to the invitation.

“The city and the police department got it wrong the first time and multiple times since,” said Driver.

“We cannot afford to get it wrong again.”

Chicago Police Department spokesman Tom Ahern said department heads had conducted a comprehensive review of past gang data.

The evaluation should ensure that the information contained in the CEIS is correct based on the new criteria, nor do they rule out meetings with the Commission.

“It’s important that this system is built on fair and constitutional policing and that the appropriate amount of time is taken to ensure it is aligned with CPD’s commitment to reform,” said Ahern.

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The draft policy

Under the policy, agents must have “specific, documented and reliable information” within five years before adding anyone to the database.

However, the policy does not require those already on the list to be notified of their inclusion or told how to appeal their designation as Chicago gang members.

The draft policy lets users know they have been added to the database by going to the following:

  • Police headquarters
  • One of the county’s five police stations
  • The offices of Chicago city clerks.

In addition, parents of teenagers registered in the database can appeal on their behalf.

The Chicago Police Department would then have 90 days to respond.

They can still add people to the database if two or more criteria are met, including:

  • Wearing clothing with gang emblems
  • Tattoos of gang insignia
  • Being identified as a gang member in the court record of a criminal charge

However, those in the database must be delisted from the policy after five years.

It is implemented when they are no longer eligible for inclusion in the system.


More than 3 years after watchdog warned Chicago Police gang databases were ‘deeply flawed,’ new system poised to launch despite objections

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