Chicago Hope

New oversight chief brings a cool head to a department under fire

Balancing Act: The head of a civilian office that investigates allegation of police misconduct, Annette Moore walks a line between law enforcement and the public.
DW Johnson

Annette Moore 03C is aware that the nation, and maybe even the world, are watching her.

As chief of staff for Chicago’s newly created Civilian Office of Police Accountability, Moore is helping to reform the Chicago Police Department, an organization with a well-documented record of excessive force and officer misconduct.

“Because all eyes are on us, we’ve got to get it right,” she says. “I take that as a welcome challenge.”

Hired to the post in January 2016 (when the office was called the Independent Police Review Authority), Moore will oversee a staff of 141 when the office is fully up to speed in 2018. The organization is one of more than two hundred civilian oversight agencies that have sprouted across the country in the face of community recriminations over police abuse of power.

A former banking lawyer in Chicago, Moore knew from an early age that jurisprudence was her calling. Growing up in Atlanta, her father was friends with Richard Deane Jr., the former US attorney for the Northern District of Georgia, and the family knew other lawyers who were community pillars for their service and volunteer work.

“They were the model for what I wanted to be and do as I grew up,” Moore says. “They were the people that everyone went to for advice, and not just legal advice.”

It’s those same sensibilities that are guiding Moore in her current role.

“At the end of the day,” she says, “we hope to have a police department that’s more accountable for its own guidelines, rather than one that believes it’s okay not to abide by its own rules.”

Moore enrolled at Emory not to study prelaw, but to major in English with a minor in economics. Both, she notes, would form the bedrock of her legal education: “I wanted to focus on building up my writing skills, and I love reading. That and economics fulfilled my interests for the left side of my brain as well as the right side.”

At Emory, Moore appreciated “the building of relationships between professors and the students, promoting an idea of, ‘We learn as much from our students as they learn from us.’ ”

Moore earned a JD from the University of Chicago, where she later served as associate director of law school admission and directed the school’s diversity outreach efforts. Although rank-and-file officers have regarded the new agency with suspicion, her office is guided by four tenets: transparency, independence, integrity, and timeliness.

“We are working really hard to not only build credibility with the officers who we oversee, but to get them to understand that they will get a fair shake,” Moore says. “We are out to get to the bottom of an incident, understand the facts, have the facts lead us to where they lead us, and then make recommendations based upon the evidence that we’ve collected.”

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