Watchdog finds CPD has made ‘minimal’ progress in new gang intelligence system

Chicago’s Office of Inspector General on Wednesday said the Chicago Police Department has made minimal progress toward revamping its flawed "gang database."

In a follow-up to its 2019 review, the Inspector General said CPD hasn’t defined the strategic value of its new gang intelligence system.

"While the Department has taken some measures to adopt community feedback on its collection of gang affiliation information, its public-facing information was outdated and potentially misleading on a key issue of community concern," the Office of Inspector General said in a statement.

In 2019, the OIG found that CPD’s gang database had widespread data quality issues. The OIG found that people were never told they were added to the database, and that CPD allegedly had no mechanism of fixing incorrect entries. The database was also had deep racial bias, the report found.


"OIG’s 2019 analysis of Gang Arrest Card data found that 95% of the 135,242 individuals designated as gang members were Black and Latinx," the Inspector General said in the statement.

"Individuals as young as nine and as old as seventy-five were designated as gang members. OIG’s 2019 report also highlighted the potential consequences of a gang designation in relation to an individual’s criminal justice involvement, immigration status, and employment prospects."

In a letter responding to the report, police Supt. David Brown said he had "concerns" about the report "without completing the interviews suggested by" CPD.

Brown said the report had outdated information, was incomplete and didn’t consider the limitations placed on CPD that include financial limitations and personnel constraints.

"As we move forward in our quest to repair relationships with the community, it is important that we all understand the limitations placed on the Department to move forward from the wrongs of yesterday to a place where the Department stands as an example to the country of what constitutional policing is and should be," Brown said in the letter.