Grassroots Alliance for Police Accountability (GAPA)
In the summer of 2016, a coalition of community organizations formed the Grassroots Alliance for Police Accountability (GAPA). GAPA came together in direct response to the Police Accountability Task Force’s recommendation to develop a Community Oversight Board, allowing the community to have a powerful platform and role in the police oversight system. In November and December of 2016, JCUA joined GAPA organizations as they brought together 1,700 Chicagoans across 30 wards for police accountability community conversations.
Born from these conversations, the GAPA ordinance was introduced to City Council in March of 2018. The GAPA ordinance did the following:
- Creates democratically-elected district councils for each police district: 3 members from each district will work to engage the community and police and have a voice in determining community policing strategies on a district-level.
- Creates the Community Commission for Public Safety and Accountability: This commission has the power to help select and remove key leadership positions as well as to develop and approve Police Department policy, including policies related to use of force and de-escalation.
- The best practices and pieces of the former GAPA ordinance were integrated into the Empowering Communities for Public Safety (ECPS) ordinance as part of the powerful joint coalition with the Civilian Police Accountability Council (CPAC).
Coalition for Police Contracts Accountability (CPCA)
For decades, the Chicago Police Department has had a “code of silence” that allows officers to hide misconduct. Our city’s police union contracts effectively make this “code of silence” official policy. The Coalition for Police Contracts Accountability (CPCA) has identified several contract provisions that discourage people from filing complaints, make it easy for officers to conceal the truth, and that obstruct investigations into claims of misconduct. JCUA is a full member of CPCA and endorses their 14 recommendations for a new police union contract.
When JCUA underwent the transformation into a new organizing model in 2014, our first campaign was focused on community safety, when we became part of a coalition advocating for the University of Chicago to open a Level 1 Trauma Center on its Hyde Park campus — in what would be the first trauma center on the South Side, even as South Siders were and continue to be disproportionately more likely to be victims of gun violence. JCUA mobilized support across the Jewish community, even when we faced backlash from agitating against some of UChicago’s Jewish leadership. In late 2015, we were victorious when the university committed to opening the center, and today it serves as a vital hub for health care on the South Side.