CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) - Big changes are underway right now in the way abusive police officers are investigated and punished. FOX 32 News has learned proposals by lawmakers include a first-ever "law enforcer license" that cops would have to obtain and renew at regular intervals, just like lawyers and doctors.
Police departments in Illinois could no longer conceal for a year or more even inflammatory dash-cam videos, like the one showing the death of Laquan McDonald - not if Attorney General Lisa Madigan and legislators she's working with have their way.
“You're outside. Everything is being taped. And so, the promise of that is that there will be more accountability if there is more transparency,” Lisa Madigan said.
The Attorney General met yesterday with State Sen. Kwame Raoul and Rep. Elgie Sims, chairmen respectively of each chamber's judiciary committee.
In addition to mandating quick release of dash-cam videos, Sen. Raoul said they also discussed requiring cops to obtain a first-ever law enforcer's license, as doctors, lawyers and hairdressers must do.
Police would renew the license at regular intervals, giving a state board the opportunity to review each officer's history, including any citizen complaints.
Supporters say state licensing could put teeth into police oversight they fear is now largely ineffective.
That concern is one reason the Attorney General asked the U.S. Department of Justice to launch a civil rights investigation of the Chicago Police Department. It could lead to years of federal oversight and cost taxpayers millions of dollars.
Mayor Emanuel said he's already appointed a blue ribbon commission to propose police reforms. He said a new, wide-ranging federal investigation would be "misguided."
“Given all work that's been done, I wouldn't want to start over. Because it's going to take time,” Mayor Rahm Emanuel said.
“The system is not working, or people believe it is not working. So we absolutely, I think for all the people of the City of Chicago, we need somebody from the outside who has expertise of doing these exact investigations of other police departments,” Alvarez said.
The Feds are currently conducting in Baltimore the kind of civil rights review Lisa Madigan wants them to do here in Chicago.
It could cast a shadow over the rest of Mayor Emanuel's second term. In Cleveland, the whole process took several years and was at times very combative.