What does the timeliness initiative seek to accomplish?
After a comprehensive review process, COPA will expedite and conclude eligible misconduct complaints by requesting additional training for Chicago Police Department (CPD) members or through other remedial recommendations if allegations are sustained. Such efforts will reduce COPA’s overall caseload, improve its timeliness, and ultimately lead to more appropriate disciplinary outcomes that are decided through the arbitration process.
How is a request for additional training or other remedial recommendation different from other case outcomes?
COPA has the authority to make a wide range of disciplinary recommendations, and the severity of its recommendations is commensurate with the type of allegation COPA sustains during an investigation. For less severe infractions, COPA can recommend alternatives to formal discipline such as requesting the accused member be retrained. Recommendations of this nature are not eligible for arbitration.
What is arbitration?
Arbitration is a process protected through Chicago Police Department members’ collective bargaining units that provides members with a formal process for disputing discipline. Through a comprehensive review of this process and its historical opinions, it is evident that arbitrators often weigh the timeliness of an investigation much more than any other evidentiary component.
Why is this important?
SSince the launch of COPA in 2017, the agency has devoted significant resources to working through a backload of investigations it inherited from the agency’s predecessor, the Independent Police Review Authority (IPRA). While the agency worked to conclude many of these investigations, it was also actively receiving new allegations of misconduct. As a result, COPA’s caseload grew significantly, impacting its ability to close investigations in a timely manner. This has led to a compounding effect and closure timelines significant enough to impact the final disciplinary award granted by an arbitrator. By greatly reducing COPA’s overall caseload, the agency can better reduce closure timelines leading to more appropriate disciplinary outcomes.
Which investigations will be reviewed before being eligible to be closed?
COPA will review investigations older than 18 months to determine if there is an alternative approach to closing these cases.
What determines which investigations are eligible for closure?

Cases are only eligible for closure if:

  • Basic investigative steps are completed. Investigative steps include, but are not limited to, the acquisition and review of applicable video evidence (body-worn camera, police observation devices, and third-party cameras) and written reports (Chicago Police Department reports, medical records, statements, etc.)
  • Any potentially viable allegations can reasonably be determined.
Which investigations are ineligible for closure related to the <em>Timeliness Initiative</em>?

Investigations with the following allegations do not qualify for non-disciplinary closure:
• Rule 14 allegations
• Domestic violence/sexual misconduct
• Unjustified uses of force resulting in injury
• Unjustified uses of force against a restrained or vulnerable individual
• Search warrant procurement or execution
• Certain types of verbal abuse
• Intentional misconduct and acts of retaliation

The following investigations are also ineligible for closure:
• Officer-involved firearm discharges
• Fatal motor vehicle pursuits
• Cases with a high- level of public interest
• Cases referred for criminal investigation
• Cases with allegations that could result in substantial discipline (30 days+)
• Cases re-opened at Public Safety Inspector General’s request

What will happen if new evidence is found?
Should circumstances change and/or new evidence comes to light, COPA may consider reopening an investigation in accordance with COPA rules and applicable policies and guidance concerning the reopening of closed investigations.
If I do not receive a letter or phone call-does that mean my case is still open/does not qualify?
If you filed a complaint prior to January 1, 2022, and you have not received a letter or phone call that your compliant has been closed, it likely means that your complaint does not qualify for closure under COPA’s Timeliness Initiative. If you would like to confirm that your complaint is still open, please contact a case liaison at 312-746-3609 or caseliaison@chicagocopa.org
When does the Timeliness Initiative end?
This initiative will begin on July 17, 2023, and is expected to end no later than December 31, 2023.
Why is my complaint/investigation still open?
There are a variety of reasons an investigation may still be open, and the answer is unique to the facts and circumstances of each investigation. Many of COPA’s investigations are complex and require extensive analysis of video, audio, forensic, and physical evidence, as well as interviews of civilian witnesses and CPD members. This may prolong an investigation as COPA waits to receive the necessary laboratory reports, CPD reports, and other evidence. In some situations, COPA’s investigation may also be extended because an accused CPD member is unable to be interviewed due to an illness, leave of absence, or other reason. Finally, while COPA has worked diligently to reduce its backlog of open complaints, the high number of investigations assigned to each investigator has impacted the agency’s ability to conclude investigations in a timely manner. This issue is intended to be addressed by the Timeliness Initiative.
What is a training recommendation?
For less severe infractions, COPA may recommend a disciplinary recommendation that CPD provide additional training to the accused member of the Chicago Police Department. For example, if COPA identifies that an accused member of the Chicago Police Department did not timely activate their body worn camera, COPA may recommend that the member be retrained on CPD’s Body Worn Camera Policy. Similarly, if an accused member of the Chicago Police Department failed to complete an Investigatory Stop Report or provide an Investigatory Stop Receipt to a complainant, COPA may recommend that CPD retrain the member of the Chicago Police Department on its Investigatory Stop System Policy.
Who do I contact if I have questions about my complaint?
COPA will have three case liaisons dedicated to COPA’s Timeliness Initiative, and will be available to answer questions from complainants via our office at 312-746-3609 or caseliaison@chicagocopa.org
How does COPA plan to be transparent with the public about the Timeliness Initiative?
In an effort to increase transparency and accountability, COPA has launched a webpage that provides details on the following:​

  • An overview of Timeliness Initiative
  • A detailed explanation of the qualifying criteria
  • A contact form for complainants and member of the general public ​
  • Charts and graphs to track overall open caseload​
  • Examples of the type of training and closure outcomes​
  • A special report to be released on COPA’s website detailing the Timeliness Initiative