On October 12, 2017 COPA partnered with the FBI (Chicago Division) for the first Citizens Education & Training Exercise on Use of Force. The event, held at FBI Headquarters, was attended by community leaders, faith based leaders, educators, law enforcement officials and concerned civilians of the city of Chicago. This training provided an overview of federal and state laws, an opportunity to watch videos of use of force by law enforcement and a full simulation exercise where participants were instructed to use the current laws in hostile situations. Each section of this educational experience led to meaningful discussion on how civilians view incidents before and after being made aware of many of the laws that govern use of force. One participant from the Austin community stated, “It provided a vital perspective and forced me to see my blind spots, while in an environment where I could get some of those questions answered. I’m excited to send more people to that training in order to help facilitate a more informed dialogue around laws, policing and use of force. Everyone was friendly and very accommodating. It was just a great atmosphere.”
As an agency we are certainly interested in hearing from all who live within the city of Chicago and creating community platforms to have active dialogue and education that leads to better oversight because police accountability truly involves all of us. If you are interested in hearing more about COPA’s community engagement efforts or would like for us to attend your local community meeting please email us at CommunityOutreach@chicagocopa.org.