By CWB Chicago and Inside Publications
While coverage of mayoral candidates dominates media coverage during the current election cycle, another elected position has quietly found its way onto Chicago ballots: Police District Council.
After the February 28 election, each of the city’s 22 police districts will have a three-person council that will join a growing list of Chicago police oversight bodies.
But exactly what will a Police District Council do? Residents of the Lakeview-based Town Hall (19th) District recently received a mailer from three of its district council candidates that included the following graphic to explain what the council will do:
If you’re left scratching your head rather than nodding in understanding, you’re not alone.
Officially, the district councils will:
- build stronger connections between the police and the community at the district level
- develop and implement community policing initiatives
- hold monthly meetings with residents to work on community concerns about policing and accountability
- work with the community to get input on police policies and practices
- develop and expand restorative justice and similar programs
- ensure the newly-formed Community Commission for Public Safety and Accountability (CCPSA) receives input from the district council
- nominate candidates to serve on the CCPSA, which will have the power to select candidates for CPD superintendent and influence police policies and general orders.
Each district council member will receive a $500 monthly stipend during their four-year term.
The Chicago Reader has published detailed and well-balanced summaries of all candidates across the city. It is a recommended resource. Voters may select up to three candidates on their February ballot.
But four of the city’s 22 districts have fewer than three candidates, including the Central (1st) District, which patrols the Loop, South Loop, and parts of Bronzeville and the West Loop.
Also having fewer than three names on the ballot is the Shakespeare (14th) District, covering Bucktown, Wicker Park, Logan Square, and the south end of Avondale.
Six candidates running for the Town Hall District Council recently participated in an online forum to explain their positions, which cover a broad political spectrum. Ald. Tom Tunney (44th) has posted the forum on his website.