Former IG Joe Ferguson pushes more and better police data

The Chicago Police Dept. "is terrible with data" partly due to "its bureaucratic and administrative mediocrity"—according to former Chicago Inspector General Joe Ferguson.

Ferguson spoke on Oct. 21, 2021 at a panel discussion that explored the uses of data to solve inequities in the criminal justice system. The event was put on by the Institute for Research on Race & Public Policy at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

In his comments during the panel, Ferguson spoke on the uses of, and the needed improvements to, policing data—with a primary goal of moving "from arguing and fighting about access to data . . . so that the argument shifts to the meaning of the data."

Ferguson departed as head of Chicago's Office of Inspector General (OIG) on Oct. 15, after 12 years in that position—and after, Ferguson reported, Mayor Lori Lightfoot did not ask him to stay on.

At the panel, Ferguson addressed the need for informed residents, the state of police department data, and how government bureaucrats have purloined the word "transparency."

A partial transcript of Ferguson's remarks follows.

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