Pursuant to the Municipal Code of Chicago §§ 2-56-030 and -230, the Public Safety section of the Office of Inspector General (OIG) is conducting an inquiry into the Chicago Police Department’s (CPD) execution of search warrants, focusing on the accuracy of the addresses at which they are executed. As part of an ongoing inquiry, OIG has analyzed CPD data on search warrants issued between January 1, 2017, and December 31, 2020. OIG is issuing this Second Interim Report in order to better equip stakeholders––to the extent feasible given the quality of CPD’s data––with clear and accurate information during the ongoing public conversation and policy debate respecting improvements to CPD’s search warrant policy and practices.
OIG also aims to highlight the intersections and gaps between the other proposed changes to CPD’s policy and its existing data collection practices, for consideration as those proposed changes are finalized.
Through this Second Interim Report, OIG aims to provide the public with clear and accurate information on recent CPD search warrants and to equip stakeholders to knowledgeably participate in the ongoing public conversation and policy debate surrounding improvements to CPD’s search warrant policy and practices. CPD search warrant data from 2017 to 2020 revealed that CPD’s use of search warrants, particularly of residences, has been declining since late 2019. Of search warrants for a residence, the majority (73%) seek drug-related evidence. Depending on metrics, reported rates of successful search warrants may vary widely. When seeking drugs, CPD recovered drug evidence 75.6% of the time, and when seeking guns, recovered them 40.6% of the time. OIG found that “chance hits,” or the discovery of unintended evidence, occurred more often for Black and Hispanic/Latinx subjects than White subjects, with White subjects comprising just 3.5% of all residential search warrant subjects.
Members of the public and CPD members will be best-served by data-informed policy decisions and thoughtful consideration of the implications of policy changes for existing data collection systems and practices. OIG’s inquiry on this matter is ongoing and continues to evaluate CPD’s search warrant training, review, and disciplinary processes and their impact on the occurrence of wrong raids.
AIG's Green Book, Principles and Standards for Offices of Inspectors General