CHICAGO - Under orders from a federal judge, the Chicago Police Department says it is now making significant progress in adopting major reforms following outrage over the killing of teenager Laquan McDonald.
But critics say the pace of police reform is still way too slow.
"Well I think we are making progress. Are we exactly where we want to be? No, we have more work to do," said CPD Policing and Reform Director Robert Boik.
Boik admits it is not easy reforming an institution as large and entrenched as the Chicago Police Department. But in a report submitted to the federal court Sunday night, CPD says it is making good progress achieving the goals set by a federal monitor.
"The superintendent and the mayor are committed to this effort, and they’ve devoted the appropriate resources to it that we can get it done," Boik said.
The report says CPD is engaging with the community, with more than 80 neighborhood meetings. It has turned over more than 8,000 documents to the federal monitor and has started pilot programs to improve police wellness and training.
"We are making progress in areas of use of force, in areas of community policing, in training," Boik said.
"I think the bottom line to this report is confusing activity with accomplishment," said Ed Yohnka.
Yohnka of the American Civil Liberties Union says CPD continues to fall behind goals and benchmarks set by the federal monitor. He says the culture change that is needed simply is not coming fast enough, pointing to numerous allegations of police misconduct during last summer’s protest marches.
"This is the best chance to fix Chicago policing in half a century. And we can’t blow this because people aren’t paying enough attention to it," Yohnka said.
The federal monitor will issue her own report on police progress within the next few weeks. Last summer, the monitor was critical, saying police had missed 70% of the consent decree deadlines.