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The Complaint Process
Why is this information imperfect?
Why is this information imperfect?
Chaclyn Hunt avatar
Written by Chaclyn Hunt
Updated over a week ago

There are many reasons the data we have received from the City of Chicago is incomplete. As we discover errors, we contact the City to ask for corrections. This is an ongoing process.

The complaints published here come from numerous large datasets released by the Chicago Police Department. Each dataset was in a different format, with slightly different information. This may account for small discrepancies in language or what information is available for a complaint.

Due to limitations in the data systems used by the CPD and its oversight agencies, most complaints are given a single complaint category, typically the most serious allegation. This means that if one officer is accused of excessive force and two fellow officers are accused of not reporting the excessive force, all three officers may have a complaint marked as excessive force. 

The long administrative process for appeals is only partially reflected in the complaint data. Outcomes and punishments may vary over time, as those processes are completed.

One example is a complaint filed against Officer Robert Drell, who was the subject of a misconduct allegation in May 2009. You can view the data we have under the CRID 1062099. The Category, Finding, and Final Outcome of this allegation are “Unknown.” However, Officer Drell was suspended in October, 2014 and had a hearing in front of the Chicago Police Board in January, 2015. The Board found him not guilty, and Officer Drell was reinstated as an officer, with back-pay, on March 19, 2015.

This site does not include settlements after an officer has been sued. Please see Settling for Misconduct by the Chicago Reporter.

Use of force data is self-reported by officers. If an officer uses force and does not complete a Tactical Response Report, that incident is not reflected. So, there may be a complaint that does not have an associated TRR.

This data by and large does not include data about juveniles, or data about undercover officers or whistleblowers. We do not have an exact definition of when an officer is undercover.

The awards data is also incomplete, and only reflects the most common and most important awards.

For a full explanation, please see the contextual information at

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