Durbin on DOJ Investigation: This is an Opportunity, Not a Penalty

WASHINGTON—U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) released the following statement after Attorney General Loretta Lynch announced a Department of Justice Civil Rights Division investigation of the Chicago Police Department (CPD)’s policies and practices. Durbin asked for the investigation Thursday in a letter that can be found HERE.


The overwhelming majority of our law enforcement officers do the right thing every day, and many risk their lives doing it. This investigation shouldn’t be viewed as a penalty, but rather as an opportunity.  An impartial investigation can help identify those areas where the CPD has fallen short and guide the Department onto a better course.


These investigations in other major cities have led to critical reforms that improve the safety of police and the communities they serve. These reforms coordinated with the Justice Department are currently underway in cities like Seattle; Pittsburgh; Cleveland; Albuquerque; New Orleans; and Portland, Oregon. To take just one example, an investigation of the Seattle Police Department found that officers had used force in 70% of encounters with people with mental illness.  Since a consent decree was entered, officers have used force in less than 2% of encounters with people with mental illness. And all serious uses of force are now being investigated by a specialized review team, resulting in improvements to tactics, training and policy.