Know Your Rights

 

Rooted in the fundamental principle of increasing transparency, the Chicago Police Department’s Know Your Rights Campaign aims to provide the public with the knowledge they need to navigate interactions with law enforcement confidently and securely. By illuminating the rights guaranteed to individuals during police encounters, the campaign not only fosters a sense of accountability within the community but also nurtures a relationship of mutual respect between communities and those sworn to protect and serve. Through education and outreach, the Chicago Police Department endeavors to cultivate a culture of understanding and cooperation, ensuring that every encounter between officers and the public is grounded in fairness, transparency, and respect for individual liberties.

 

For more information on how to file a complaint with the Civilian Office of Police Accountability (COPA), visit their website HERE.

For more information on CPD’s Bureau of Internal Affairs, visit their public dashboard HERE.

Frequently asked questions about your rights, answered by the Chicago Police Department.

What happens if a person is being harassed by an officer and who else can get involved in the situation?

  • The Chicago Police Department does not tolerate officers abusing their authority or treating people with disrespect. If you feel that you have been mistreated by an officer, or if you witness someone being mistreated by an officer, you should file a report with the Civilian Office of Police Accountability (COPA), CPD’s Bureau of Internal Affairs, or any CPD supervisor. This will register the complaint and begin the investigatory process.

For more information on the Department’s policies regarding human rights, view the full directive HERE.

Why do some officers profile black and brown teens based on their clothes, their hairstyles, or the music they listen to?

  • The Chicago Police Department does not tolerate discrimination of any kind and prohibits racial profiling and other bias-based policing.
  • When performing duties including investigatory stops or traffic stops and arrests, officers may not use an individual’s background or identity as the reason for the stop.
  • An officer must be able to clearly articulate the specific police or public safety purpose of any traffic or street stop. Any observed violations can and will be reported to a supervisor.
  • CPD also mandates implicit bias and constitutional policing training for all Chicago Police officers.

For more information on CPD’s policy regarding the prohibition of racial profiling and other bias-based policing, view the full directive HERE.

What are my rights when being questioned by police? Can I walk away? Can I film the officer? Do I have to answer questions if I’m not arrested or charged with a crime?

  • While you do not have to answer any questions, you must comply with all lawful orders during a stop by police.
  • You have the right to record your interaction with an officer as long as you are not interfering with any law enforcement activities.

For more information on the Department’s policies regarding investigatory stops, view the full directive HERE.

Are officers allowed to have their body cameras off when interacting with a member of the public?

  • Officers must keep their body-worn cameras on during all law enforcement activities such as traffic stops, searches, interrogations, and arrests.
  • Officers may use discretion to activate body-worn cameras for non-law enforcement-related activities, such as interactions with members of the public in which there is no reason to believe a person has committed or is in the process of committing a crime.
  • There are certain situations in which a body-worn camera will not be activated. These cameras will not be activated to record individuals in residences or private areas not open to the public unless there is a crime in progress or other circumstances where officers are lawfully present without a warrant.
  • Body-worn cameras are not activated inside medical facilities unless it is necessary for a law enforcement investigation and approved by a supervisor.

For more information on CPD’s body-worn camera procedures, view the full directive HERE

What should I do if I am being arrested?

  • The Chicago Police Department does not tolerate officers abusing their authority or treating people with disrespect.
  • You are not required to answer questions but are required to comply with lawful orders during an arrest. Officers conduct arrests if there is probable cause that a crime has been committed.
  • You are allowed to make at least 3 phone calls as soon as possible but no later than three hours after arrival to the first and any subsequent place of custody, free of charge, to an attorney, family member, or friend. Officers are prohibited from listening to your phone calls.

For more information on field arrest procedures, view the full directive by clicking HERE. For more information on processing procedures for individuals arrested by CPD, view the full directive by clicking HERE.

 

Think you know what your rights are? Take this quiz!