New report evaluates Chicago Police Department's preparedness for mass gatherings

New details are being released about public safety planning for mass gatherings in Chicago

The city's Office of Inspector General has published an update to its investigation into the Chicago Police Department's level of preparedness. 

The report is a follow-up to the inspector general's 2021 review of how the city responded to protests and unrest in the wake of George Floyd's murder four years ago. 

The office previously called CPD "under-equipped" and "unprepared." 

Now, a 45-page report published Thursday examines whether or not CPD has made improvements to its strategies – procedures and training plan – ahead of this summer's Democratic National Convention

Chicago Inspector General Deborah Witzburg said the department has made strides in testing its emergency response plans and simplifying its process for "use of force" reporting. 

But, she said there is still work to be done when it comes to consistent messaging during police roll calls and crowd control. 

"We found there what we believe to be outdated concepts and principles of crowd control. Effective crowd control must balance safety and security needs against the protection of the constitutional rights of lawful demonstrators and I think there are a couple of areas, notably, the use of containment techniques and the use of OC spray, where there are risks here, that we are not adequately protecting the First and Fourth Amendment rights of lawful demonstrators," said Witzburg. 

Chicago Police Superintendent Larry Snelling said he disagrees with the finding that CPD is using outdated crowd control strategies. 

He said the training is approved by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the Office of the Attorney General and CPD's Independent Monitoring Team.