What is ECPS and the District Councils?
Empowering Communities for Public Safety (ECPS) is an ordinance that was created out of a merging of the Grassroots Alliance for Police Accountability (GAPA) and Civilian Police Accountability Council (CPAC). This coalition of reform driven individuals led the passage of the ECPS ordinance in July 2021. The ECPS ordinance creates a system for police accountability and public engagement that is the first of its kind.
ECPS creates: 1) District Councils in each of Chicago’s 22 police districts, where three elected residents will work to ensure public safety at the local level; and 2) a city-wide Community Commission for Public Safety and Accountability that will decide CPD policy, establish public safety goals, and play a central role in selecting police leadership.
District Councils will be voted on in each of Chicago’s 22 police districts in the 2023 Municipal Elections. Voters will be able to select up to 3 people in their district to represent them on the District Councils. Anyone can participate in District Council work, and the more people participate, the more effective the District Councils will be. District Council members serve four-year terms, and will represent the public in key roles:
- Nominate members of the Community Commission on Public Safety and Accountability
- Hold monthly public meetings to gather community input about policing in their district
- Develop and implement community policing initiatives
- Work to develop and expand restorative justice programs in their district
- Attend quarterly meetings of district councils across Chicago
- Report its findings to the Community Commission on Public Safety and Accountability
17th District Chicago Police Department & District Council
Community Commission for Public Safety and Accountability
The Community Commission is a seven-member body, nominated by District Council members, nominated by the Mayor, and confirmed by City Council. Following District Council elections in the February 2023 elections, Commissioners will be nominated by members of the District Councils. Commissioners serve four-year terms and have several key powers:
- has final say over policy for the Chicago Police Department, the Civilian Office of Police Accountability, and the Police Board, and can write policies for these bodies
- monitors CPD’s compliance with policies
- can appoint and remove the head of the Civilian Office of Police Accountability (COPA). Can recommend, and assess the qualifications of, the Superintendent and members of the Police Board
- can recommend changes to the budget, and ways to ensure CPD resources are used appropriately
- can recommend community and evidence-based solutions to violence
- has access to information, data, documents, and records necessary to fulfill these duties
- can issue a vote of no confidence in the Superintendent, Police Board president, or COPA chief
- gathers community input from the District Councils, and from engaging in open, democratic practices like public comment and petitioning