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Evaluation of the Use of the Affidavit Override in Disciplinary Investigations of Chicago Police Department Members

Report Details

Report Description: 
The Office of Inspector General (OIG) conducted an evaluation of the use of the affidavit override in disciplinary investigations of Chicago Police Department (CPD) members conducted by CPD’s Bureau of Internal Affairs, CPD District and Unit accountability sergeants, the Independent Police Review Authority (IPRA) and the Civilian Office of Police Accountability (COPA). The override process, if used as designed, is an effective tool for ensuring that police misconduct is meaningfully investigated, while also providing an opportunity for verification of the reliability of complaints for which CPD members may be investigated. Historically, however, the process has been underused and, perhaps, poorly understood. OIG’s evaluation produced the following findings: 1. The majority of finalized disciplinary investigations were closed for lacking an affidavit; 2. CPD, COPA, and IPRA (COPA’s predecessor agency) did not pursue affidavit overrides and improperly closed investigations for lacking an affidavit, including: a. Investigations closed for lacking an affidavit when there was objective, verifiable evidence which supported the allegations rendering them eligible for an override; b. Investigations closed following an insufficient preliminary investigation; and c. Instances in which the investigation was assigned a case status reserved for investigations closed for lacking an affidavit when the investigation was either exempt from the affidavit requirement, or another closure type was more appropriate. 3. The investigating agencies often closed investigations associated with a civil lawsuit for lacking an affidavit, without regard to the possibility of the City potentially bearing financial costs for conduct which is never meaningfully investigated, the possibility that materials associated with a civil suit might provide sufficient basis for an override request, and that a civil suit may give rise to sworn statements that might be substituted for an otherwise required affidavit, or provide a reliable basis for obtaining an affidavit override. 4. Investigations completed on the basis of an affidavit override result in Sustained allegations at a higher rate than do investigations completed via a signed affidavit or an exemption from the affidavit requirement.
Date Issued: 
Thursday, December 17, 2020
Agency Reviewed / Investigated: 
Chicago, IL
United States
Type of Report: 
Inspection / Evaluation
Professional Standard: 
AIG's Green Book, Principles and Standards for Offices of Inspectors General

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