The "Chicago Model" of Policing Hasn't Saved Chicago. Why is Everyone Else Copying It?
"Just a few months ago, the Chicago police department was regarded as America’s laboratory of police science.
As the country’s most violent big city struggled to contain an
epidemic of deadly shootings, the police force opened itself up to top
criminologists, law professors and sociologists. Theories drawn up at
Harvard and other bastions of elite thought were being taught to, and in
some instances practiced by, the nation’s second biggest police agency.
Superintendent Garry McCarthy, Chicago’s top cop at the time, preached a
gospel of reducing crime by fostering healthy relationships between
police and the communities they serve—especially black communities. The
police would be transformed, as the reformers put it, from 'warriors' to 'guardians.'
At a time of heated debate over the conduct of America’s cops, this line
of thinking proved especially appealing. Policymakers nationwide were
intrigued by Chicago’s alliance of academics and law enforcement, and
the 'Chicago model' of policing strategies influenced departments from
Oakland, Calif., to New York City. The Justice Department is spending
millions of dollars promoting ideas hatched in the Chicago workshop. A
policing task force formed by President Obama after the unrest in
Ferguson, Mo., recommended that cities adopt some of Chicago’s
strategies. Think tanks at Yale, John Jay College of Criminal Justice
and UCLA are touting its innovations.
But days after Thanksgiving, Chicago’s reform engine stalled. Mayor Rahm
Emanuel fired McCarthy, calling him a “distraction,” after protests
erupted over the delayed release of a police video that showed a white
officer firing 16 bullets into a black teenager, Laquan McDonald. An
array of academic theories and programs nurtured by McCarthy are now in