The Evanston City Clerk’s has implemented a new policy aimed at increasing accountability and transparency with records in the Evanston Police Department. The policy requires the public release of all police misconduct records and records related to use-of-force incidents in which a firearm, taser, or stun gun is discharged, or in which a chemical agent is used.
These records will be made publicly available on the City of Evanston website within 15 business days of the formal complaint filing or use-of-force incident. The new policy goes into effect on Monday, according to a news release from the City Clerk.
"As the custodian and keeper of records in the City of Evanston, the City Clerk holds the authority to determine the disposition of City records, thus granting him the power to institute this new policy," says Clerk Reid.
Additionally, the public nature of these records, as affirmed by Kalven v. Chicago (2014), means that they are alternatively accessible by the Illinois Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), which requires all public records to be released within 10 business days of their receipt.
"Evanston is a leader in transparency and livability in Illinois, and the proactive public release of police records reaffirms this," says Reid.
"The Clerk’s Office is proud to make Evanston one of the first municipalities in the state to publicly release police misconduct complaint records -- following Chicago’s lead -- and likely the first municipality in the state to publicly release Use of Force by weapon records."
According to the release, the policy has been in the works for about a year, and has been developed through meetings with the EPD, multiple local leaders, the Invisible Institute, and attorneys. “This is a powerful, tangible step in the right direction for Evanston as we work to be a community that all Evanston residents can be proud of,” says Jordi Amaral, the Assistant to the City Clerk.