Frequently Asked Questions

What is Rahm trying to do?

Mayor Rahm Emanuel is trying to build a training compound for Police and Fire in West Garfield Park that will cost the city $95 million dollars.  After closing the city’s mental health clinics and over 50 schools, he wants to invest even more money in the racist and violent police.

Didn’t City Council already vote on that?  

The cop academy is NOT a done deal. While two minor votes have taken place, the final project has never been approved in full by City Council.  The first vote was in November of 2017, when the city purchased land they intend to use for the cop academy (but could still use for something else).  Then in May of 2018 they voted to approve a funding package which allocated around $20 million towards the cop academy, in addition to funding the expansion of 3-11 services, and more.  The final contract to design & build the cop academy still has to be selected and voted upon by full City Council – which could happen before the 2019 elections, so stay tuned!

I hadn’t heard about this yet, why isn’t it being talked about more?

Rahm has been trying to sneak the plan through quickly and quietly, so people won’t oppose it.  They announced the idea over 4th of July weekend last year, when people were busy barbecuing with their families.

Why is this a bad idea?

This is a bad investment.  The City already spends $4 million per day on the police, and investing more money in policing will mean more violence for Black communities and communities of color in Chicago.  We need fully-funded public schools, accessible mental health clinics, living wages, and after school and job training programs if we want to build strong communities.

But don’t cops need better training?

“Better” training has never been proven to solve police violence.  What’s more, the problem is about accountability, not training. Until there is real community oversight of police, as proposed by CPAC, police continue to kill, harass, profile, beat, and frisk Black people with impunity.

But won’t this bring in economic development?

The city says this will bring 100 new jobs to the area, but that’s nothing for $95 million dollars.  Only 15% of those construction jobs need go to “local” residents. Rather, we know this investment in policing on the West Side is about continuing to push out long-term Black residents and will contribute heavily to gentrification of the neighborhood.  Meaningful economic development would be driven by community-generated needs & visions, and would benefit all residents of the area – the only people benefiting from this project are CPD, the Mayor, and the developers being paid with tax dollars!

What’s the plan with this campaign?

To shed light on Rahm’s latest scheme that sells out Chicago and stop the construction of the training grounds!  We brought together grassroots organizations from across the city to launch the No Cop Academy campaign. We plan to fight back together- through the media, train takeovers, canvassing, civil disobedience, and by building a front of popular opposition- to stop this compound. We demand schools for kids, not cops.

How can I help?

There are so many ways to help.  Check out our ideas for how to get involved and let us know what you’re interested in.  If you are part of a community organization or group that would like to endorse and join the campaign, reach out to us at nocopacademy[at]gmail.com.

What’s happened so far and how do they intend to pay for it?

Visit the Timeline of Rahm’s Plan here, to see all publicly available data we’ve gathered about this project!

What company is supposed to build the cop academy?

On November 15th, Mayor Emanuel and the Chicago Infrastructure Trust announced that they selected a global company called AECOM to design & build the cop academy.  However, AECOM has a terrible track record of over-billing governments for infrastructure projects, and has built notorious prisons and jails around the world for over 30 years.  Download this AECOM Fact Sheet to learn more about them.