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Why Police Should Protect Complainant Autonomy

By Randall K. Johnson. Available here.


Abstract: This Article is one in a series of papers that sets the record straight about the type, quality, and quantity of information that U.S. administrative agencies may employ to make more informed policy decisions. The Article does its work in, at least, three ways. First, it encourages better use of scarce public sector resources by calling for reform of the police complaint intake process. Next, this Article identifies the causes of police complaint inefficiencies by critically assessing how intake is done by the Chicago Police Department (CPD). Lastly, it provides guidance about how to achieve CPD intake reform by better protecting complainant autonomy. Complainant autonomy, at least in this Article, is defined as a real party in interest’s (i.e. an injured citizen’s) right to control how its allegations are framed by a nominal plaintiff (i.e. the CPD) against a defendant (i.e. an officer) under the process that is used to resolve administrative complaints (i.e. police complaints).