New Policy Bans Chicago Police Officers From Joining Hate or Extremist Groups

New Policy Bans Chicago Police Officers From Joining Hate or Extremist Groups

It's been a long time coming.

Chicago’s civilian police oversight agency recently approved a new policy that prohibits police officers from joining hate or extremist groups.

On Nov. 13, the Community Commission for Public Safety and Accountability (CCPSA) unanimously approved the policy, giving the Chicago Police Department 60 days to respond before it would officially take effect. The department’s general orders already prohibit officers from having “membership in or affiliation with criminal organizations and from association with known members of criminal organizations.”

According to a WBEZ Chicago investigative report, dozens of current and former Chicago cops are members or once participated in right-wing extremist groups, including the Oath Keepers. The policy would expand the reach for members of criminal groups from becoming Chicago police officers, something Commissioner Remel Terry says he is taking seriously.

“Given the seriousness and urgency of this issue, we feel it’s important we vote on this policy today,” Terry explained. “We will continue our work to ensure that the Chicago Police Department effectively implements this policy, monitors the implementation and provides regular reporting on the outcome.”

This change in CPD policy was inspired by Robert Bakker, who was accused by the city’s inspector general of being associated with leaders of the Proud Boys, labeled by the FBI as an antisemitic white supremacy organization. While he was given a 120-day suspension, Bakker is still a member of the police force. With the new policy, the change would have likely ended his career.

The new policy also includes “bias” groups, described as organizations that “advocate for systematic illegal prejudice, oppression, or discrimination, including disparate treatment, against an individual or group based on any protected class under federal, state, and local law, including race, color, sex, gender identity, age, religion, disability, national origin, ancestry, sexual orientation, marital status, parental status, military status, source of income, credit history, criminal record, or criminal history.”

To expand on monitoring their officers, Bureau of Internal Affairs Chief Yolanda Talley said CPD is conducting its internal investigation, which she said would be finished “in less than six months.”

Chicago’s Mayor Brandon Johnson’s new police superintendent, Larry Snelling, has promised City Council members there will be more “stringent” efforts to rid the department of extremists and “remove those members from our ranks.”

CCPSA said it will monitor how the policy is implemented as Johnson has the power to veto. However, that’s unlikely, as he has promised to fire officers associated with extremist hate groups.