The Chicago Police Department's ( CPD ) First Deputy Superintendent of the Bureau of Operational Services told the LGBT press Oct. 13 that he is aware of the concern over a particular officer mentioned by many 'prominent' members of the LGBT community in complaints of abuse and misconduct.
Dana Starks, the First Deputy Superintendent, said he became aware of the concern 'some time ago,' but just like any allegation of excessive force, abuse or corruption, he can not reveal the name and history of the officer, or the details of the investigation. 'We investigate it thoroughly to find out if there is any credence to that allegation, or if there is any substance to the corruption,' said Starks of the process. 'And when we find there is a sustained investigation, we take appropriate disciplinary action.'
On Sept. 22, Amnesty International ( AI ) held a press conference and released a report that analyzed four cities, including Chicago, and revealed widespread police mistreatment and abuse of LGBT people. At the press conference, Heather Bradley, the youth outreach minister of Night Ministry, said that one police officer is frequently mentioned by victims to the Night Ministry. Bradley added that the organization is working with the process the district police department has in place to hold officers accountable, and is working with organizations such as the Lakeview Action Coalition to address patterns of specific concerns in Lakeview.
'We will take appropriate action without any hesitation,' Starks added, adding that the CPD takes all allegations 'very seriously.'
Starks added that after the matter was brought to his attention, an investigation of the allegations was launched. Due to CPD policy, Starks was unable to reveal whether or not the investigation is ongoing.
According to the CPD's 2004 annual report, out of the 2,373 completed complaints to OPS and the Internal Affairs Division, only 101 were sustained, meaning the allegation was supported by sufficient evidence to justify disciplinary action.
Because the AI report was very anecdotal, Starks said the CPD will take steps to see how widespread police abuse against LGBT people is. The first step is to meet with the gay and lesbian police organization and ask their perspective about what is going on. After dialogue to quantify the problem, Starks said dialogue is needed for a solution.
One of AI's recommendations was to have an LGBT liaison in each police district. There is currently one liaison in the 23rd district, officer Jose Rios. 'We are looking at expanding the number of more than just Jose,' Starks said.
The CPD has increased its general diversity training for recruits 'three-fold the mandated numbers,' Starks said. A transgender video that had been shown to recruits is being looked at to edit and resubmit. Officer Marty Ridge, who is working on all of the training at the academy, said that it was not necessarily flawed, but the department is looking at ways to enhance it. Also, a new gay and lesbian video is being created to show at roll call training, Ridge added.
The department has a one-hour block that was reinstated into the training curriculum that addresses LGBT issues. CPD is also trying to implement a one-hour training for transgender issues.
The CPD is also looking into sensitivity training for officers already out on the streets.
The Office of Professional Standards ( OPS ) investigates allegations of excessive force. To file a complaint, call ( 312 ) 747-6307/6308; visit or write OPS at 1130 S. Wabash, 4th floor, 60605; or contact any police facility.