Inaugural COPA People's Academy looks to foster trust between community and police

Many of our viewers will recognize the name "COPA."  

It's the 5-year-old civilian agency responsible for overseeing the Chicago Police Department and making recommendations to CPD leadership when it comes to officer misconduct and a wide range of issues. 

COPA is now offering a six-week course called the People's Academy, designed to give citizens an inside look at exactly how the agency works.

"We thought this was the prime opportunity for us to share with residents in Chicago and people around the country how COPA conducts the investigations and how we reach those conclusions," said COPA First Deputy Chief Administrator Ephraim Eaddy. 


It's another step by COPA to address the perceived lack of transparency from CPD and City Hall in the aftermath of the police shooting of LaQuan McDonald in 2014.  

"It's one thing to do video releases, it's one thing to put out press statements, but we have been looking for ways to provide more transparency to the public," said Eaddy.

Over the next six weeks, attendees will learn the inner workings of civilian oversight of the CPD, including situations like officer-involved shootings, use of force procedures, how it makes disciplinary recommendations, and its video-release policy.  

"Chicagoans do not like to be misinformed," said Eaddy.  "They like to be involved and they want transparency."

Registration for this inaugural six-week People's Academy is full, but if you're interested in enrolling in the future, the course is being offered again this fall, and COPA is also offering single or two-week courses on a variety of police oversight topics throughout the year.

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