Interim Chicago Police Superintendent John Escalante said Tuesday the forms police officers have to fill out when they stop someone in the street will be simplified.
Chicago police officers have complained about the forms — paperwork the department agreed to when the American Civil Liberties Union argued officers made unconstitutional citizen stops — since they had to begin filling them out Jan. 1. But the decision to simplify them occurred after Escalante said the number of stops reported began to drop significantly, the Associated Press reported.
Officers said the forms, known as “investigatory stop reports,” were too confusing and took too long to complete. When the new, streamlined forms are put into use at the beginning of March, Escalante said he expects to see the number of street stops increase again. To solve the issue, Escalante met with the ACLU and the Chicago Law Department to agree to reduce the number of pages of the reports from 2 to 1 1/2, the Chicago Tribune reported.
The stop reports took the place of the former “contact cards.” The ACLU published a study last year showing that officers in the city disproportionally targeted African- Americans in their street stops.
The new forms, much more thorough in how the stops were documented, require the officer to list his or her name and badge number along with the name, race, gender and ethnicity of the person they stopped, and whether that person had a pat-down and if they are in a gang.
— Chicagoist (@Chicagoist) February 24, 2016
By mid-January, the number of stops decreased by about 80 percent compared to the same time last year, DNAInfo.com reported. Gun arrests were also down by 37 percent in the two time periods, while gun confiscations fell by 35 percent.