* Some minds were changed about outlawing the death penalty and legalizing marijuana when skeptics were shown how much tax money could be saved (and gained, in the case of pot) by changing current laws. The fact that police misconduct lawsuits cost Chicago taxpayers $662 million between 2004 and 2016 has been attracting growing interest in a city that can’t afford those costs.
* With that in mind…
A new study has determined that taking civilian complaints more seriously could substantially reduce the most serious cases of police misconduct and the costs to Chicago taxpayers from legal settlements.
The Chicago Sun-Times reports legal scholars from Northwestern University and the University of Chicago reviewed some 50,000 misconduct complaints filed against Chicago police officers between 2002 and 2014.
The scholars, Max Schanzenbach and Kyle Rozema, found most complaints don’t lead to lawsuits. They say “the worst 1 percent” of officers generate nearly five times the number of legal payouts than the average officer.
* The limitation on this theory is it won’t save a ton of money…
The two concluded that “removing the worst 1 percent” of Chicago Police officers — about 120 people — and replacing them with “an average officer” would have saved Chicago taxpayers more than $6 million in payouts between 2009 and 2014.
So a million or so a year. The study is here.