Cheryl Corley

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With the rise of videos showing violent and often deadly encounters between police and citizens, there's also been an increase in the creation or expansion of civilian oversight groups to monitor police departments. Today, there are about 18,000 police departments in the U.S. and, according to the National Association for Civilian Oversight of Law Enforcement, there are about 200 civilian groups that monitor police.

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Danica Patrick is one of the biggest names in motor sports, one of the most successful women in the history of American racing, and tomorrow, her last race is one of the world's most famous - the Indy 500. NPR's Cheryl Corley reports.

Community groups that pushed for changes in the Chicago Police Department will now be able to weigh in on reform efforts being negotiated by the city and state attorney general.

They reached the agreement this week following months of sometimes heated talks after the city waffled on how to overhaul the troubled police department.

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All over America today, students staged walkouts to protest school shootings. Let's hear now from Chicago where students rallied against the wider epidemic of gun violence in their city. NPR's Cheryl Corley has this report.

No one knows how many people wrongfully convicted of crimes are in prison, but last year 139 of them were exonerated. That's a drop from 2016, when there were 171 such cases.

The numbers released today by the National Registry of Exonerations shows that Texas still led the nation with 23 exonerees last year followed by Illinois (21), Michigan (14) and New York (13).

When the bell rings at Chicago's Sullivan High School on the city's far north side, it's a familiar scene. Hundreds of students pour into the hallway heading to their next class. What's also becoming increasingly familiar is the presence of two uniformed police officers in the hallway keeping watch. The school resource officers often chat with the students passing by and Sullivan's principal Chad Adams says the officers provide a higher level of security for the school and much more.

Edward Sanders was 17 years old when he was convicted of first degree murder in 1975. He was a passenger in the car of a drive-by shooting. He's now 60 and he was paroled this past summer — after spending 42 1/2 years in prison.

Sanders says he is nothing like the teenager sentenced four decades ago. "I don't identify with that youth that committed the offenses he committed. I condemn that youth. I rebuke his behavior. I'm not that person."

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A fatal police shooting in Kansas late last month focused attention again on how so-called swatting — prank 911 calls designed to get SWAT teams to deploy — puts lives at risk and burdens police departments.

There are more than 7,000 911 centers in the U.S. and, according to the National Emergency Number Association, they receive about 600,000 calls a day. Authorities don't track swatting calls nationally, though the FBI has been monitoring the practice of those types of fake calls for about a decade.

Today in Chicago, Judge Leroy Martin threw out the convictions of 15 men in what defense attorneys call a landmark decision and the "first mass exoneration" in Cook County. The men, who all served prison terms, claim they were framed by former Chicago Police Sgt. Ronald Watts and officers under his command. One of the men, Leonard Gipson, spent four years in prison and says Watts would demand money and then drugs on a person and arrest them if he was not paid.

In Chicago, an odd mix of brazen action by detainees in jail and declining budgets is keeping public defenders from talking to their clients in the lockup areas behind county courtrooms.

Cook County Public Defender Amy Campanelli says this will continue until authorities can find a way to stop some of the men in custody from exposing themselves to female attorneys.

If you've ever called 911 to report an emergency, thank the Johnson Crime Commission. Establishing a national emergency number was just one of more than 200 recommendations the Commission offered up in a landmark 1967 report "for a safer and more just society."

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RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

The state of Illinois has been in a budget crisis since 2015. All that instability meant vendors didn't get paid, and students left state universities. Now finally, a breakthrough. Here's NPR's Cheryl Corley.

The New York City neighborhood where a gunman walked up to a truck-like mobile police command vehicle early Wednesday and shot into a window killing Officer Miosotis Familia, is in a high-crime area of the Bronx.

Authorities say they are still working to identify the shooter's motive, but still, Familia's death stunned residents such as Liz Fabers.

"Did she deserve to die, hell no, nobody shouldn't walked up on her and just killed her," she says.

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The design for the Obama Presidential Center was unveiled Wednesday at an event attended by former President Obama and Michelle Obama.

The Center, slated to be completed in 2021, will be located in the Jackson Park neighborhood of Chicago's South side and it will include three buildings — a museum, forum and library that surround a public plaza.

A century ago, it was one of the biggest names in retail. Now, even Sears officials say its future could be in doubt — though they say they have plans to make sure the retail icon survives.

Nancy Koehn with the Harvard Business School says that in its early days, Sears Roebuck and Co. was like Amazon is today — a retailer of great disruption.

For Sears, it meant a path-breaking strategy of offering all sorts of merchandise in catalogs and building department stores in remote places with ample parking.

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As gun violence continues to plague some of Chicago's neighborhoods, a violence prevention program is looking to tackle the issue by treating it like a public health crisis.

Chicago's murder rate is below that of other cities, but the actual number of murders in the city last year — most from gun violence — exceeded the combined total of murders in New York City and Los Angeles.

Stopping and questioning citizens is a routine police activity but it's also controversial, especially in communities of color where frisking can quickly follow the questions, and the relationship between police and residents can be tense. Today, the ACLU filed a class-action lawsuit against the city of Milwaukee charging that the police department conducts a "vast stop-and-frisk program" that is unconstitutional and targets black and Latino people.

As immigrant communities across the U.S. watch the battle over President Trump's administration ban, there is also concern among some scientists and medical groups.

They say there should be a welcoming atmosphere for the thousands of international researchers and students who attend conferences every year in the U.S. and help shape medical and technical advances.

Many scientific, academic and medical groups signed onto a letter urging the president to rescind his original immigration executive order.

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The number of anti-Muslim hate groups nearly tripled last year. That's just one of the dramatic statistics in a new report by the Southern Poverty Law Center. NPR's Cheryl Corley has more on the growth of hate groups in the U.S.

Algonquin, Ill., is a Republican stronghold. The growing town of 28,000 is about an hour's drive northwest of Chicago in McHenry County, the only one of six in the metro area to vote for President Trump.

At Short Stacks, a small diner on Main Street, Ginger Underwood sits at a table with her two adult daughters. She voted for Donald Trump and says that, so far, she is glad she did.

"I think Trump is doing exactly what he said he was going to do when he ran for office," she says. "So that's fine with me, that he's doing what he's doing."

In Chicago, where the number of shootings last year soared, it's often young people who become both perpetrators and victims.

The Cook County Juvenile Justice Center holds about 200 to 300 young residents awaiting trial at the Temporary Detention Center. Among these residents are Leonard and Nigel, both 17 years old.

Because of the rules of the juvenile court, Nigel and Leonard's full names and specifics about their cases can't be disclosed.

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President Obama's adopted hometown of Chicago is often the stage for pivotal moments in his career. He claimed victory in Chicago in 2008 and again in 2012. And it's where he will give his farewell address on Tuesday night.

Many Chicagoans use the word "pride" when talking about Barack Obama. You can hear it in their voices. In this city, where President-elect Donald Trump got only 12 percent of the vote, admiration for President Obama is strong.

Kim Chisholm stood with thousands of others in the bitter cold this weekend to get a ticket to Obama's speech.

The end of 2016 marked a grim milestone in Chicago.

More than 4,000 people were shot over the course of the year, and 762 people were homicide victims, according to the Chicago Tribune.

Those numbers are higher than the totals of New York and Los Angeles combined.

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