As Chicago grapples with efforts of reform, accountability and transparency, City Bureau is partnering with local journalists and media outlets to build public tools around public policy for public use. Our annotated Trackers are like getting a used book for class with comments scribbled in the margins—they're innovative public tools designed to support context and information around some of the city's most pressing issues.

More importantly, they are crowd-sourced tools designed for community input, led by City Bureau's Documenters program.

Click the images below to explore our Tracker Projects.  While you're there add your own thoughts, experiences and questions using the Rap Genius Annotation app provided on each Tracker by selecting the yellow highlights on each page. Trackers can be used before, during and after community meetings, ahead of policy decisions and during research to gain valuable insight into Chicago's civic processes. See our article in Open Source for a description of how the Tracker Projects are developed.


Questions on how to read annotations and submit your own? See the basic tutorial


On June 30, 2017, the Fraternal Order of Police contract with the city of Chicago will expire. Using an excel spreadsheet and Genius, we've annotated the police union contract with analysis, media reports, legal cases/studies, academic research and more to present a complete view on how the FOP impacts and influences police accountability nationwide.


City Bureau and lawyers with the Police Accountability Collaborative have updated City Bureau's Task Force Tracker to include a progress report — 1 year to the day after the Police Accountability Task Force released its recommendations on police reform in Chicago.



On October 7, 2016, the Chicago Police Department released a draft of its new Use of Force guidelines and opened the directives for a 45-day period of public review. For the remainder of that public input period (ending November 20), our independent Use of Force Tracker will provide context around national Use of Force best practices as it relates to Chicago, and collect public comments on the CPD's draft document.  

Click the tabs below to explore a draft of the Chicago Police Department's new Use of Force guidelines, featuring annotations from City Bureau Documenters. 


Throughout the month of August, City Bureau Documenters will cover and transcribe each of the community meetings centered on redesigning Chicago's police investigation agency, the Independent Police Review Authority (IPRA). The IPRA Tracker collects unpublished reports, law enforcement documents, proposed ordinances and community-oriented coverage in an effort to create and preserve context for public use.

Click the yellow highlights on each page of the tracker to see our annotations and add your own thoughts, suggestions and experiences—no download required.


As the Police Accountability Task Force (PATF) makes recommendations on how the Chicago Police Department can “restore community trust,” City Bureau, the Invisible Institute and Smart Chicago are announcing a new civic opportunity.

Using an excel sheet and Rap Genius, a team of City Bureau Community Documenters has created an annotated, independent hub for public use that will measure the ~200 individual recommendations against existing contracts, policies, potential conflicts and public discourse; such as the Fraternal Order of Police contract, local legislation and media reports.