General FAQs

The office is open 9:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m., Monday – Friday

  • By Phone: Call the IPRA Complaint Line at (312) 746-3594 or TTY (312) 745-3598
  • In Person:
    • Visit IPRA’s main office located at 1615 W. Chicago Avenue, 4th Floor
    • Any police district station and make a complaint with a desk sergaeant. Complaints recieved at district stations are immediately forwarded to IPRA.
  • Online: Click File a Complaint Online.
  • By Mail: Mail a letter to:
    • Independent Police Review Authority 1615 W. Chicago Avenue, 4th Floor Chicago, IL 60622

No. IPRA is not a part of the CPD. IPRA is a completely independent agency within the City of Chicago responsible for the intake of all complaints regarding allegations of misconduct by CPD members and the investigation of such allegations. IPRA is staffed by civilian investigators and headed by a civilian Chief Administrator who is appointed to a four-year term by the Mayor. IPRA does not answer to the chain of command at CPD and comes to the conclusion of its investigations and findings without any oversight by the CPD.

No. The Independent Police Review Authority and the Chicago Police Board are two very different agencies. The Chicago Police Board is an independent civilian body that oversees certain activities of the CPD. The nine members of the Board are private citizens appointed by the Mayor with the advice and consent of the City Council. For more information please visit www.ChicagoPoliceBoard.org.

No. As noted above, you can file a complaint directly with IPRA. However, if you would like to do so, you can go to a district station to file a complaint. If you do, the desk Sergeant or Police Officer is required to take your complaint and forward it to IPRA.

IPRA investigates allegations of misconduct by a member of the CPD related to the use of excessive force, domestic violence, verbal abuse with bias, and coercion with the threat of violence. IPRA also investigates certain incidents, even where no misconduct is alleged, such as all cases in which a CPD member discharges a firearm or Taser in a manner that could potentially strike an individual. Finally, we investigate all deaths or serious injury of persons in police custody.

All complaints logged by IPRA that don’t fall within our jurisdiction are referred to the CPD’s Internal Affairs Division (IAD). For example, if the complaint is concerning an illegal search, the theft of money or property, or the alleged planting of drugs, IPRA would refer such complaints to IAD.

We understand that in some instances the individual who suffered the alleged misconduct cannot themselves file a complaint.  For instance, if the allegation of misconduct involves a minor or the individual is incapacitated or deceased, that person’s parents, guardian or another family member will often file the complaint on their behalf.  In addition, anyone who was a witness to the alleged misconduct may register a complaint with our office.

An individual’s incarceration does not exclude them from being able to file a complaint of misconduct. Individuals that are in custody can mail their complaint via the United States Postal service to:

Independent Police Review Authority
1615 W. Chicago Avenue, 4th Floor
Chicago, IL 60622

IPRA can set up interviews with individuals in the custody of the County Jail or the Illinois Department of Corrections if distance and time permits.

Illinois State law requires that an affidavit be signed where there are allegations of misconduct. All attempts are made to secure a signed affidavit. When those attempts fail, unless extenuating circumstances exist which permit IPRA to proceed with opening a case in the absence of a signed affidavit, the case will be closed.

The complaint is received and it is assigned a Log Number. IPRA retains those complaints that are within its jurisdiction for investigation.  All other complaints are referred to IAD for resolution.  IPRA will send you a letter acknowledging the complaint within five (5) to seven (7) days. That letter will indicate whether IPRA or IAD is investigating the matter.

No.  IPRA does not report anyone with any of the aforementioned issues or concerns. IPRA is not a part of the CPD.  In addition, as a civilian investigative body, IPRA investigators have no arrest powers. We are not here to report on the transgressions of complainants, but rather to record all complaints and gather information related to allegations of police misconduct regardless of the complainant’s status or past criminal history.

It is not necessary to know the names of the officers involved or the people who witnessed an incident, but it is always helpful for investigators to have as much accurate and complete information as possible in order to conduct a fair, thorough, and timely investigation. Any information that can assist IPRA in identifying potential witnesses such as addresses, descriptions, and nicknames is useful when an investigator conducts a canvass of the neighborhood.

Except with respect to allegations of excessive force, there is not a time frame in which a complaint must be filed.  For allegations of excessive force, state law requires that charges against the offending officer be brought before the Police Board within five (5) years of the date of the underlying misconduct.  Therefore, in all instances, it is best to file a complaint as soon as possible following an alleged incident of misconduct in order to allow IPRA time to conduct a thorough investigation.

IPRA seeks to resolve all investigations in a timely manner, with the expectation that most investigations can be concluded within six (6) months.  However, some investigations, such as officer-involved shootings, are more complex than others. Our goal is to complete officer-involved shooting investigations within twelve to eighteen months. At times, however, an investigation may be delayed by factors beyond IPRA’s control, including the availability of witnesses, and the collection and testing of forensic evidence.  Investigations into officer-involved shootings can take a long time, and we recognize that this can be frustrating to families.  Wherever possible, IPRA seeks to speed up the resolution of investigations, while at the same time maintaining their accuracy, thoroughness, and fairness.

At the outset of each investigation, IPRA sends a certified letter to the complainant or family of the individual who registered the complaint, which includes the name of the IPRA investigator assigned to the case.  Complainants and/or family members should feel free to call the assigned investigator with questions, including the status of the investigation.  Although the investigator cannot disclose specific details regarding the investigation, he or she will be able to provide updated information as it becomes available.  If, for any reason, the complainant or family member is unable to reach the assigned investigator, Larry Merritt, IPRA’s Director of Community Outreach & Engagement, is available as a second point of contact.  Mr. Merritt can be reached at (312) 746-3609.

IPRA may refer cases (other than officer-involved shootings) to the Cook County State’s Attorney and/or the Department of Justice (as applicable) based on, among other things, the nature of the complaint, the seriousness of the injury and the availability of video evidence. In the case of officer-involved shootings, IPRA refers all such cases to the Cook County State’s Attorney for an independent investigation and review.  In addition, IPRA refers officer-involved shooting cases to the FBI and/or the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Illinois where there is the belief the shooting may have violated an individual’s civil rights.

While an investigation is pending, IPRA will not publicly release the names of any officers, complainants, or witnesses involved. In addition, the collective bargaining agreements between the City of Chicago and the police unions prohibit IPRA from publicly releasing the names of any officers involved in an ongoing investigation.

Harassment or retaliation by any officer is unacceptable and expressly prohibited under IPRA’s ordinance.  If an individual believes he or she has been subjected to harassment because a complaint has been filed, or because attention is being brought to a pending investigation, he or she should immediately notify the assigned IPRA investigator.

Case Portal FAQs

The Police Accountability Task Force (PATF) that was appointed by Mayor Rahm Emanuel in December 2015 issued a policy recommendation in February 2016 calling for the City to publicly release recordings and reports related to certain types of police incidents.  More specifically, the PATF recommended that these materials be released to the public no later than 60 calendar days from the date of incident, or at an earlier date when possible. The Mayor formally adopted the video release policy and IPRA has worked to implement the policy through the launch of our new case port.

IPRA and other law enforcement and prosecutorial agencies are allowed an opportunity for a one-time 30-day extension, if, in their respective opinion, public release of the evidence would impede an open investigation.

To read the full transparency policy as written by the PATF.

The City of Chicago has generally followed a policy of not releasing any evidence pertaining to a police-involved incident while an investigation of the incident by any entity – IPRA, CPD, the Office of the Cook County State’s Attorney, or the United States Attorney – was still ongoing.

It has become clear that the previous policy did not recognize the public’s need for timely information about these important incidents. This new video release policy is intended to promote transparency for the public while also minimizing potential disruption to any ongoing criminal or disciplinary investigation.

The City of Chicago’s transparency policy applies to the following types of incidents, each of which fall within IPRA’s investigatory jurisdiction:

  • officer-involved shootings
  • officer-involved taser use that results in death or great bodily harm
  • incidents of death or great bodily harm (other than self-inflicted harm) that occur in police custody

Pursuant to the policy, evidentiary materials obtained by IPRA in connection with pending investigations will be released within 60 days and will include the following:

  1. Video:
    1. Dashboard cameras
    2. POD video
    3. Body-cam video
    4. Lockup cam footage, and
    5. Third-party footage obtained by IPRA (such as cellphone footage; CTA video footage, security camera footage obtained from private businesses, etc.)
  2. Audio:
    1. 911 calls
    2. OEMC dispatch recordings
    3. CPD radio calls, and
    4. Third-party audio
  3. Police Reports
    1. Arrest Reports
    2. Original Case Incident Reports
    3. Officer’s Battery Reports, and
    4. Tactical Response Reports

According to the PATF’s definition, for the purpose of the transparency policy, great bodily harm includes any injury that is serious enough to require treatment in a hospital or a medical facility located in a correctional institution.

The video release policy promulgated by the PATF only requires the release of evidence related to the incidents described above. Any incidents that do not fall within the scope of the video release policy, but reflect other uses of force by a member of the Chicago Police Department that may be of greater public interest, will be posted under the “Other Use of Force” category on the website.

On June 3, 2016, IPRA released evidence for all pending investigations that fall within the scope of the City’s transparency policy.

Evidence will be released within 60 days of the incident or the date IPRA was notified of the incident (if later). IPRA and other law enforcement and prosecutorial agencies may submit a written request to obtain a one-time extension of 30 days, if public release of the evidence would impede an open investigation.

Evidence will be publicly available on the website for 6 months after it is first posted.

Yes. Pursuant to the policy, to the extent that IPRA has the information to do so, IPRA will send a letter and attempt to place phone calls to individuals who have been identified as involved in the incident to inform them that evidence will be publicly released on the website. In the event that the subject is deceased, IPRA will provide the notification to the subject’s family or legal representative, if known to IPRA.  For cases in which a video recording scheduled for release on the website depicts the incident that is the subject of IPRA’s investigation, IPRA will offer that individual (or their family or legal representative) an opportunity to view the video and related evidence prior to its release.

No. The transparency policy requires the release of materials in IPRA’s possession related to any of the incident categories listed above. Often, many officers will be on the scene of an incident, and additional officers may submit reports relating to the incident. Appearing in materials released on the website does not mean that the officer is under investigation.

The transparency policy was adopted to serve the public interest by promptly releasing material related to certain kinds of incidents. The policy operates separately from the underlying investigation and adjudication process.

The transparency policy requires release of materials within 60 days of the incident. In many cases, misconduct investigations will not be complete prior to the release of materials pursuant to the transparency policy.  The fact that materials relating to an incident have been released on the website does not mean that a determination has been made regarding the conduct of an officer depicted in the materials.

The materials released on the website include recordings from a variety of sources, such as dashboard cameras, POD cameras, CTA security cameras, as well as security cameras operated by private businesses. The varied quality and clarity of the videos on the website reflect the varying quality and clarity of the recording devices and systems from which the videos are obtained.

The speed of your internet connection will determine how quickly the video loads on the website.  All video on the website is played through IPRA’s Vimeo account.  For information on the optimal internet speeds for watching video on the website, please click here.

In some cases, no video material exists. In other cases, dashboard cameras or other video sources like surveillance cameras may capture events leading up to an incident, or its aftermath, but not the incident itself.

In order to protect the privacy, and potentially the safety, of bystanders, witnesses and other individuals not involved in the incident, personal identifying information about those people, including their names, addresses, dates of birth, and other information that would reveal their identity, has been redacted.  In addition, social security numbers, driver’s license numbers, license plates numbers, vehicle identification numbers, phone numbers and employee numbers of all individuals listed in the records, as well as police computer login numbers has been redacted.  Finally, personal health information has been redacted and certain 911 calls have been withheld pursuant to the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (“HIPAA”).  If a 911 call related to a case on the website has been withheld, pursuant to HIPAA, it has been indicated the website.

There are a few reasons why an incident might not appear on the website:

  • The incident involves a juvenile: Evidence for incidents involving juveniles will not be released on this website, pursuant to the Illinois Juvenile Court Act, 705 ILCS 405/1-1, et seq., which prohibits the City from releasing law enforcement records that relate to a minor who has been investigated, arrested, or taken into custody before his or her 18thbirthday, without a court order
  • The incident is recent and evidence has not yet been released: the incident may still be within the 60-day release window, or may be subject to a one-time 30 day extension as a result of a written request received from a law enforcement agency.
  • The 6-month period during which materials are posted on the website has expired.
  • The case involves an incident for which an IPRA investigation was completed and closed prior to the creation of the new transparency policy.
  • The incident is not one of the types of incidents covered by the policy.
  • The incident does not fall within IPRA’s investigatory jurisdiction.

If you believe that you know of an incident that falls under the policy, is not subject to the juvenile exception, and is not on the website, you may contact IPRA-PublicAffairs@iprachicago.org with additional questions or for more information.

Cases can be searched by IPRA log number, type of incident, date of the incident, date that IPRA was notified of the incident, district of occurrence, and keyword search by the name of the subject of the incident.