The goal of the Training and Professional Development Department (TPDD), is to ensure staff have the capacity and competency to conduct investigations that align with COPA ordinance in compliance with the Consent Decree (CD). To meet this objective, the TPDD facilitates the development of a competent and professional workforce responsible for implementing investigative policies, practices and procedures. The TPDD has created several training modalities (new hire onboarding orientation, six-to-twelve-week training academy, in-service training, webinars and external training opportunities), all designed to help COPA’s workforce acquire proficiency in civilian oversight functions with specific emphasis on investigative concepts, processes and practices.



The COPA Training Plan has five objectives:


1. Increase knowledge and understanding of civilian police oversight with specific concentration on identifying and training COPAs workforce on proper investigative methods for ensuring objective, thorough and impartial investigations within our jurisdiction;
2. Build and strengthen investigative and legal skills in the specific task to be completed for the efficient functioning of COPA’s day-to-day operations;
3. Improve work behavior, so that COPA employees function better at assigned activities and fulfill their potential;
4. Improve attitudes about the importance of civilian oversight, thus improving the environment for change; and
5. To meet the required mandates established in the 2019 Consent Decree by providing at least 8 hours of comprehensive annual in-service training.

Training Plan Structure




COPA’s training structure is composed of scheduled activities (New Hire Onboarding Orientation, COPA Academy and In-Service Training) with training goals, learning objectives, subject areas, methods of delivery and assessment. In addition, a training roll-out and communication plan has been developed establishing the required steps that will ensure compliance with COPA’s overall training mandates, including those mandates highlighted under the 2019 Consent Decree.




New Hire Onboarding Orientation

The New Hire Onboarding Orientation (NHOO) is designed to introduce and familiarize all new hires with COPA’s mission, vision, and core values, the City of Chicago policies and procedures and concepts of civilian oversight. Training sessions may be delivered virtually or in-person. All new hires, regardless of classification, are required to attend. As a matter of practice, this training is always offered prior to the launch of COPA’s Training Academy.


COPA Training Academy was developed and implemented with the sole purpose of advancing ongoing preparedness training and exercises that increase employee skill sets, build knowledge and create the highest level of assurance within the public. Training sessions may be delivered virtually or in-person. The Academy spans six to twelve weeks and includes national and local experts in investigations, applicable legal concepts, law enforcement oversight, implicit bias, and procedural justice. COPA’s training also includes weekly practice tests on core investigative concepts and an integrated practicum project, in which trainees combine the skills and knowledge learned over the course of COPA Academy into a final project.



  1. New Hire Onboarding Orientation (NHOO): 30 Hours
  2. Investigative Concepts and Steps: 141 Hours
  3. Legal Concepts: 30 Hours
  4. Site Visits: 22 Hours
  5. Practicum: 7 Hours


In-Service Trainings

COPA’s in-service training series provides COPA employees the opportunity to engage in and acquire additional skills in investigative theory, concepts, steps and legal. It is also a time where training on COPA processes and application can be discussed, reviewed, and potentially modified. These training sessions offer a way for COPAs policies and procedures to be reviewed on a routine basis. In-service training sessions are offered at a minimum, on a quarterly basis and typically last 2.0 hours which is necessary to cover all content and material. Training sessions may be delivered virtually or in-person. Please note that TPDD reserves the right to include additional courses to the schedule depending on agency need or special circumstances. COPA investigation staff members are required to have 8 hours of annual, comprehensive, in-service training. Investigative staff members are defined as COPA employees that are supervised under the Chief of Investigative Operations. The Consent Decree topics which may be applied to the required 8-hour in-service requirement include:

Consent Decree and Policy 528

  • Intake 528(a)

  • Procedural Justice 528(b) / Implicit Bias 528 (k)

  • Evidence Collection 528(c)

  • Affidavit Override 528(d)

  • Sexual Assault 528(e)

  • Domestic Violence 528(e)

  • Interview and Interrogation Techniques 528(g)(j)

  • Fourth Amendment 528(h)

  • Witness Reliability 528(i)

  • Standards of Proof 528(l)

  • CPD Rules and Directives 528(m)

  • Jurisdiction 528(n)

  • Use of Force 528(o)

  • Lock Up Procedures 528(o)

  • CMS 528(p)

  • Collective Bargaining Agreements 528(q)