Everything Chicagoans Need to Know About Chicago Police Report Processing and Case Status
On Monday, April 26th, 2021, Chicago-One released the Chicago Police Department Bureau of Detectives Violent Crimes Training Manual through the Illinois Freedom of Information Act. The training manual was researched and put together by the department's Investigative Development Group (IDG). That training manual contains details about how the Chicago Police Department handles criminal case reports.
This article will give the public an in-depth look at the exact procedures and protocols followed by the Chicago Police Department when you file a police report for either a misdemeanor, or a felony crime.
Those who are social media users, and those who also like to keep-up with what's happening on our city streets are likely familiar with the #ChicagoScanner, #CrimeisDown, #Chicago, #Chicagoland, and other Chicago-related Twitter hashtags. Those same people and millions of others are likely also familiar with the OpenMhz and Broadcastify audio streaming services where the public can listen in to Chicago Police radio communications between department units and the Chicago Office of Emergency Management and Communications. Many Chicagoans or others who use these services, as well as anyone who has ever made a police report with the Chicago Police Dept. have heard of "RD Numbers" and "Event Numbers".
Going to CrimeisDown will take you to the Chicago Scanner Listening and Media Reporting Style Guide. That guide gives some basics to start with that may help the reader understand what is being presented here a bit better.
Chicago Police have never been even the tiniest bit open about the report process and the different ways a criminal case report can be handled by the city. Today, RIGHT NOW, the public gets to learn exactly what happens when you report a misdemeanor or felony crime to the Chicago Police Department, and an officer generates a case report.
When you report a misdemeanor or felony crime to the Chicago Police Dept, the officer you speak with will generate what is called an "Original Case Incident Report". These used to be known as a "General Offense Case Report".
This case report has been blurred out because for this article, the contents of the report are non-applicable. Today's reports are generated with an RD Number (RD = Records Division), an Event Number (OEMC tracking number), and a Case I.D. number. All of this information is located in the upper right corner of the report. See CPD Policy S09-03-04 (Assignment and Processing of Records Division Numbers).
When an officer or a detective generates one of these reports, you, the victim, get what is called a "Victim Information Notice". This notice contains all the information you need to pursue your case with the Chicago Police Dept. See below for copy of a blank Victim Information Notice. These notices are available in several languages.
What you see here are what the old blank case reports used to look like (circa 1980s through 1990s).
Once you've made your report, and you have your Victim Information Notice, the case awaits approval by a Sgt. in the CIRA (Case Incident Reporting Application) system.
Here's what happens next....
Your case report goes into the CHRIS system from CIRA after it's approved by a Sgt, and the Bureau of Detectives now has responsibility for reviewing your case report to determine if it meets the criteria for assignment to a Detective. This means that one of the 5 Chicago Police Dept Area Detective Divisions responsible for investigating and analyzing crime in the district where the crime occurred will be the Detective Area assigned to your case report. The review process for determining if a case report meets the criteria for assignment to a Detective is called "Case Management", and each Detective Area has a CMO (Case Management Office) where that determination is made.
Here's the key to the units described in "From Chris to Your In-Box!"
HOM= Homicide, VC= Violent Crimes, PC= Property Crimes, FIN= Financial Crimes, YOU=Youth Section, MFP= Missing/Found Persons, ARS= Arson, OCD= Organized Crime Division, AT= Auto-Theft
The whole premise of CPD's case management protocol and criteria for case assignment to a Detective is to protect the department's financial bottom line. The overall big question is "can we get away without assigning a Detective to this case?" and the next big question is "Well, if we HAVE to assign a Detective, is this a case we can easily close out with a successful arrest & prosecution while spending as little of the department's budget as possible?". They aren't thinking about the victim.
Here are the different kinds of case assignments CPD uses within the Bureau of Detectives
The Area Detective Division performs an Administrative Investigation to determine if a Detective even needs to be assigned. If your case goes to a Summary Detective, that Detective is going to scrutinize the case after speaking with you to get more details only if the case report didn't make certain things clear. That Summary Detective is evaluating whether or not your case needs to be sent for assignment to a Field Detective for Field Investigation. That is the only time a Summary Detective will contact you.
Should your case move beyond an administrative and/or summary investigation, and it gets assigned to a Detective for field investigation....Your assigned Detective will speak with you, and may or may not need to physically meet you in person. That interview will be what gives that Detective enough information one way or another to decide what kind of supplementary report to complete, and which case status to assign. If the assigned Detective can't make contact with you in-person or by any other means, you'll get a letter via U.S.P.S. stating that the Detective is trying to reach you.
The Detective assigned your case will complete a Case Supplementary Report - General Progress Report that tells the details of what he/she found in your case report, what he/she learned after making contact with you, and other case details pertinent to the beginning phase of his/her investigation of your case. There are different kinds of supplementary reports that may be completed during an investigation.
There are eleven types of report types a Detective can choose from in the Chris system that DO NOT remove the case from his/her in-box.
There are fourteen report types that WILL remove your case from the assigned Detective's in-box. Remember, the type of supplementary report completed by the Detective changes the case status.
Now we can talk about what kinds of case status categories Detectives use! There are many, and this is where it can get confusing. Thanks to graphics, you won't have to worry about the confusion too much!
What do each of these statuses mean? How are these statuses defined, and what are the Detective's responsibilities? How does each status affect your case? CPD has given us all the answers to those questions in the graphics below.
The first thing to know and remember is that there are codes & classifications used in CHRIS that change the status of your case depending on what kind of supplementary report the assigned Detective writes. This was mentioned once above, but it is SOOOOOO important! Case status is EVERYTHING, especially if you or your loved one are the victim of a serious crime.
Depending on how much assistance you can give the assigned Detective, how cooperative you are, and what the Detective's investigation reveals by way of legal processes, the following are possible actions that Detective can take.
The name of the game as a Detective is to work the case until that Detective can clear and close it. The whole idea is to clear and close as many cases as possible, as quickly as possible. There are 5 final clearance codes in CHRIS on top of the 7 you see just above.
We've come to the point where we can talk about the criteria and definition of each status type. This is truly something you should know as a surviving victim of a serious crime, or the surviving loved one of a victim. If at all possible, you want your case to get to and stay in status type zero, and get to classification code 3 with clearance code 1.
Sadly, many of the most serious, complicated felony cases end in status type 1 (Suspended). Those cases become cold cases if they happen to be homicides or something sex related. This graphic defines how a case arrives at the suspended status.
This next status is a status you don't want your case to arrive at. An unfounded case opens you up to prosecution for making a false police report, a felony. Follow this status discussion carefully. Sometimes people report things that they truly believe are illegal, but end up as an unfounded report.
The first graphic in the unfounded status discussion mentions Bureau of Detectives Special Order 15-04. Here's that special order. You won't find it in the CPD Directives System online.
Now it's time to talk about the various types of case closure statuses as seen above in "Codes and Classifications".
Sometimes a Detective gets a case classified under the wrong UCR/IUCR code, or facts of an investigation show that the case should be re-classified. When that occurs, the case has to be re-classified in the system. This is a simple clerical procedure.
You have no doubt seen CPD send out what we all know as a "Community Alert" after a crime pattern has taken place. Your local Detective Area is responsible for sending out those alerts when they believe that sort of action to be appropriate. When they eventually arrest the offender or offenders in crime pattern cases, the Detective submits a final case status report requesting the case be Cleared-Closed by Arrest and Prosecution - Multiple Clearance.
This brings us to the end of this discussion on what happens after you file a police report in Chicago, and how the case is handled from the time it gets entered into their system. Chicago-One hopes neither you nor your loved ones ever need this information, but you can rest assured that should you ever become a person in need of such information, it's here for you.