data-dataset-word-data-deluge.jpgCHICAGO –With the Chicago Police Department poised to unveil a new gang member database in light of pervasive concerns about the current system, Senator Patricia Van Pelt called on police to ensure the new registry is designed with effectiveness as well as justice in mind.

“The public demands that this law enforcement tool be effective, but we must all demand that it be just and fair to all Chicagoans, and in particular the people of color who were disproportionately targeted by the current system,” Van Pelt said. “If the Criminal Enterprise Information System does what it’s supposed to, it could be a great boon to public safety. But to do that, it must have strong and constant oversight.”

A report from the Inspector General last April showed the operation of the original gang database to be unethical and unreliable in ways that harmed citizens who were not guilty of any crime. It overwhelmingly affected people of color, who made up 90 percent of the database. Once entered, there is no way for a registrant’s name to be removed. The entry also appears on a person’s background check, exposing them to housing and job discrimination and even deportation.

CPD has promised the new database will only use timely and vetted information, with more meticulous entry methods and an appeal process that would allow registrants to petition to have their names removed. CPD also pledged the information won’t be shared with immigration authorities and names can only stay in the system for up to five years.

“All Chicagoans deserve to feel safe and assured that police are working to protect them, not to surveil and oppress them,” Van Pelt said. “We must ensure CPD follows through on these well-considered changes.”

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