Public Safety & Criminal Justice

In recent years, shootings and murders in Chicago have painted a picture of a city that is not providing for the safety of its residents. Too many in our region do not feel safe in their neighborhoods and feel that they have an adversarial relationship with law enforcement. Moreover, personal experiences and statistical trends paint a troubling picture of how law enforcement is applied unequally across racial lines.

Our vision for Public Safety & Criminal Justice is to ensure that residents and police are safe and justice is applied consistently across communities. In our Public Safety and Criminal Justice Platform, Public Safety & Criminal Justice, Civic Consulting Alliance focuses on:

  • Reducing gun violence by intervening with those most at risk of being victims or perpetrators of gun violence.
  • Improving coordination between government agencies, community groups, non-profits, foundations, faith-based organizations, and residents to reduce violent crime. 
  • Improving the fractured relationship between public safety and criminal justice officers and the communities that they serve.
  • Reducing incarceration of those who are accused but not convicted of non-violent crimes.
  • Improving the effectiveness of the State’s Attorney’s Office by more effectively prosecuting those accused of the most serious crimes and pursuing alternatives to incarceration through diversion programs and specialty courts for those who need support and services more than jail time.
Given the complexity and importance of our reform work, we couldn’t have completed the first phase without the help of Civic Consulting Alliance and their partners. We are grateful to be able leverage the expertise and excellence of the private sector as we seek to evolve the Department.
— Eddie Johnson, Superintendent, Chicago Police Department

2018 Public Safety & Criminal Justice Snapshot


case study

Chicago Police Department use of force training implementation



Over the last several years, many police departments have come under increased scrutiny for the policies that define acceptable uses of force, prompting changes to use of force policies across the country.

In late 2014, CPD faced increasing criticism of its use of force policies and practices in the aftermath of the fatal shooting of a Black teenager, Laquan McDonald, by CPD Officer Jason Van Dyke. The shooting spurred a series of protests across the city and ultimately prompted the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) to announce an investigation of CPD. In January 2017, the DOJ investigation found that CPD had engaged “in a pattern or practice of using force, including deadly force, in violation of the Fourth Amendment of the Constitution.” The DOJ also found that there was a “disproportionality of illegal and unconstitutional patterns of force” specifically within minority communities.

A preceding investigation by the Police Accountability Task Force, commissioned by the City of Chicago, came to similar conclusions. Both reports emphasized three critical areas where CPD needed to reform: use of force, officer accountability and training.

In response to these findings, CPD revised its policy on use of force with input from policing experts, other departments, CPD officers, and the public. CPD also launched its first universal, mandatory use of force training for officers outside of recruit training. This new training was focused on ensuring that the new policy, founded on a commitment to the sanctity of human life and de-escalation, was understood and integrated into daily operations by officers across the city.

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Communicating a policy change of this magnitude to all 13,000 officers was a major logistical, educational, and cultural challenge for the entire Department. Civic Consulting Alliance and five pro bono partners brought private sector expertise to help CPD plan and coordinate this massive undertaking. Over the course of 2017, the Civic Consulting Alliance and CPD partnership coordinated use of force training for every sworn officer in the Department and met an ambitious timeline to complete the trainings over less than six months. The partnership was also able to start addressing CPD’s necessary next steps: making sure that the officers who had to make these important, split-second decisions on use of force and de-escalation fully understood the new policy and were prepared to act within it.




Once a new use of force policy was adopted, the Department faced a monumental task: to provide more than 50,000 hours of training—equivalent to 6,500 officer working days—with no model in place for mandatory in-service training. After making a public commitment that the training would be complete and the new policy fully in effect by the end of 2017, the Department also had little margin for error. To accomplish this task, the Department had to design a program that overcame three challenges:

First, CPD had to provide the training without compromising public safety.  CPD operates 24/7 across three shifts and 22 Districts, with officers in each shift and district serving in critical public safety roles. Determining when and how all 13,000 of those officers could go through training without impacting day-to-day operations or compromising public safety required careful balancing.

Second, the Department’s training capacity was already strained. While the CPD Training Academy was preparing for use of force training, it was also ramping up to train 1,000 new officers over the course of 2017 and 2018 as part of a hiring surge. Those extra officers meant larger than usual recruit class sizes for that entire time period. Training every officer successfully on use of force on top of the hiring surge would require careful management of staff time and facilities at the Department’s Training Academy.

Finally, the training course was only the first step to making sure that the shift in policy was fully integrated at CPD. Further action would be necessary to fully implement and evaluate the new policy.

Given the complexity and importance of our reform work, we couldn’t have completed this first phase without the help of the Civic Consulting Alliance and their partners. We are grateful to be able to leverage the expertise and excellence of the private sector as we seek to evolve the Department.
— Superintendent Eddie Johnson, Chicago Police Department
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This is what we do every day for our clients in our Health and Public Service practice, so it made sense for us to contribute.
— Chris Bradley, Accenture Managing Director

Starting in 2017, Civic Consulting Alliance worked with a new team in CPD’s Office of the Superintendent and pro bono partners from Accenture, A.T. Kearney, the Boston Consulting Group, EY and West Monroe Partners to take on these challenges.

Accenture and EY provided strategic guidance and project management support at the outset, working with CPD to determine how to roll out the training. In collaboration with the Training Academy, this team concluded that the most efficient and cost effective way to get all officers through the new use of force training without putting public safety at risk was to reply entirely on overtime hours. The Superintendent accepted this recommendation, and the plan was put into effect.

For changes of this magnitude, it is important that leadership be aligned and understand their role in helping make it happen. We were excited to help CPD implement reforms.
— Michael Hughes, Senior Director at West Monroe Partners

Civic Consulting Alliance’s three other pro bono partners all contributed in other crucial ways to begin changing CPD’s culture on use of force. A.T. Kearney helped CPD design an in-service training program that included an annually recurring use of force training; the Boston Consulting Group completed analysis that led to a 16-hour scenario-based use of force training and set the framework for additional future trainings; and West Monroe Partners led workshops with CPD’s top staff on creating lasting change.




As of October 2017, all active CPD officers had received initial training on the Department’s new use of force policy. While CPD has offered its officers elective in-service training for many years, the new training was the first mandatory training on use of force for all officers outside of the training they received as recruits.

That goes even for a 30-year veteran of the Department like Superintendent Eddie Johnson, who often cites his personal commitment to developing officers’ abilities through refresher trainings. Beginning in 2018, officers will receive an advanced, scenario-based use of force training annually.

These trainings won’t exist in a vacuum at CPD. They are part of a broader effort to ensure the new use of force policy is effectively implemented and evaluated. In 2018, this effort has encompassed:

  • Launching the Force Review Unit, which will review every non-lethal use of force incident to understand Department-wide patterns and provide recommendations on trainings, equipment needs and changes to CPD policy.
  • Involving supervisors earlier and more frequently in reviewing use of force incidents involving their officers.

Together, these initiatives will help the Department and its officers make progress toward their shared vision: that all Chicagoans are safe, supported and proud of the Chicago Police Department.

The scenarios were real and modern, which made them relevant to my work here in Chicago. The explanation of the use of force was done in a plain no-nonsense way.
— Chicago Police Department Officer
As we implement reforms, we have to give our officers the tools they need to carry them out. Training is a critical part of creating long-lasting, effective change for CPD and the communities we serve.
— Superintendent Eddie Johnson, Chicago Police Department