Chicago Police DepartmentGeneral Order G08-04
Prohibitions on Gifts and Gratuities
Issue Date:29 July 2016Effective Date:29 July 2016
Index Category:Professionalism
This directive outlines the Department's policy on soliciting and accepting any gift, gratuity, or other thing of value because of their status as a Department member.
  • A.Department members must demonstrate the highest degree of ethical behavior and professional conduct at all times.
  • B.Department members must be cognizant that even the appearance of impropriety when receiving a gift, gratuity, food, beverages, meals, or other thing of value might have a negative public perception, regardless of whether or not it is allowed under the law or Department policy. Few things diminish public confidence and trust in the Department more than the perception that Department members unethically benefit or alter their service by soliciting or accepting gifts, gratuities, or other things of value because of their position as a Department member.
  • C.Department members are required to comply with the Department policy on gifts which is more restrictive than and extends beyond what the law prohibits in the "Governmental Ethics Ordinance" (Chapter 2-156 of the Municipal Code of Chicago).
  • D.If there is any question about the appropriateness of a gift, Department members should respectfully decline the offer.
    Department members having questions concerning the appropriateness of a gift or gratuity are encouraged to contact the Board of Ethics at (312) 744-9660 for advice and consultation.
III.Prohibited Gifts
  • A.Soliciting or Accepting Gifts and Gratuities for Services is Prohibited. Pursuant to the Rules and Regulations of the Chicago Police Department, Department members will not solicit or accept any gratuity, gift, present, reward, or other thing of value, including free or discounted food and beverages:
    • 1.for any service rendered as a Department member,
    • a condition for the rendering of such service, or
    • a condition for not performing sworn duties.
  • B.Specific Prohibitions on Gifts. Department members are required to comply with the Department policy, which extends beyond what the law prohibits, regarding the specific prohibitions on gifts.
    • 1.Department members will not:
      • a.solicit or accept any gift for themselves, their spouse, domestic partner, immediate family, or any other relative.
        This prohibition includes all relatives, not just immediate family or those living in the same residence as the Department member.
      • b.solicit or accept any gift from an anonymous source.
        In the case of anonymous gifts where it is not feasible to identify the giver, decline the offer, or return the gift, Department members will adopt reasonable alternative strategies to avoid receiving the benefit of the gift.
        In a situation where an unknown individual pays for a Department member's meal, the member will leave as a tip for the server an amount equal to the value of the meal or give full payment for the meal to the proprietor and request that he or she use it for a person in need.
      • c.solicit or accept any gift of cash, gift card, or cash equivalent.
      • d.solicit or accept any gift unless the total value of all gifts given by a single source amounts to no more than $50.00 in a calendar year.
      • e.solicit or accept any gift or money for participating in speaking engagements, lectures, debates, or organized discussion forums in the course of the official's or employee's city employment.
      • f.solicit or accept any gift of free or discounted food or beverages.
    • 2.Exceptions. The above restriction will not apply to the following:
      • a.Any opportunity, benefit, loan, or service that is available to members of the public on the same terms.
      • b.Anything for which the Department member pays the fair market value.
      • c.Any lawful campaign contribution, provided that such campaign contribution is properly reported to the extent required by law, or activities associated with any fund-raising event in support of a political organization or candidate.
      • d.Any gift from a relative.
      • e.Any gift from a personal friend, unless the Department member has reason to believe that, under the circumstances, the gift was given because of his or her official position within the Department.
      • f.Any bequest, inheritance, or other transfer at death.
      • g.Any gift that is given to or is accepted on behalf of the city, provided that any person receiving the gift on the city's behalf will immediately report it to the Board of Ethics and to the comptroller, who shall add such gift to an inventory of the city's property.
      • h.Any award for public service, provided that such award is not cash, a gift card, or a cash equivalent.
      • i.Any material or travel expense for meetings related to a public or governmental educational purpose, provided that any such expense has been approved in advance by the Board of Ethics, and further provided that such expense is reported to the Board of Ethics within ten days of completion.
      • j.Any food, refreshment, lodging, transportation, or other benefit resulting from the outside business, employment, or community activities of the Department member, if such benefits have not been offered or enhanced because of the official position of the Department member and are customarily provided to others in similar circumstances.
      • k.Reasonable hosting, including travel and expenses, entertainment, meals, or refreshments furnished in connection with meetings, appearances, public events, or ceremonies related to official city business, if furnished by the sponsor of such meeting or public event or ceremony, and further provided that such travel and expenses, entertainment, meals, or refreshments have been approved in advance by the Board of Ethics and are reported to the board within ten days of acceptance.
  • C.Gifts Given Among Members. Department members are required to comply with Mayoral Executive Order 2011-3 concerning gifts given among employees. Pursuant to Executive Order 2011-3:
    • 1.Department members will not:
      • a.give a gift to or make a donation toward a gift for an official superior; or
      • b.solicit a contribution from another Department member for a gift to either their own or the other member's official superior.
    • 2.Department members will not accept a gift from a member receiving less pay than themselves unless:
      • a.the two members are not in a subordinate-official superior relationship; and
      • b.there is a personal relationship between the two members that would justify the gift.
    • 3.The above restrictions will not apply to the following:
      • a.On an occasional basis, including any occasion on which gifts are traditionally given or exchanged, the following may be given to an official superior or accepted from a subordinate or other Department member receiving less pay:
        • (1)Items, other than cash, with an aggregate market value of $10 or less per occasion;
        • (2)Items such as food and refreshments to be shared in the office among several members;
        • (3)Personal hospitality provided at a residence which is of a type and value customarily provided by the member to personal friends; or
        • (4)Items given in connection with the receipt of personal hospitality if of a type and value customarily given on such occasions.
      • b.A gift appropriate to the occasion may be given to an official superior or accepted from a subordinate or other Department member receiving less pay:
        • (1)In recognition of infrequently occurring occasions of personal significance such as marriage, illness, or the birth or adoption of a child; or
        • (2)Upon occasions that terminate a subordinate-superior relationship, such as retirement, resignation, or transfer.
        Department members may solicit voluntary contributions of less than $20 from a fellow member for an appropriate gift to an official superior and a Department member may make a voluntary contribution of less than $20 to an appropriate gift to an official superior for the above special or infrequent occasions.
      Department members may accept such gifts to which a subordinate or other member receiving less pay than themselves has contributed.
    • 4.An official superior may never coerce a gift from any subordinate.
IV.Exceptions for Nominal Gifts
Department members may accept the following gifts, provided that they are unsolicited, are not offered with the intent to influence official actions of the member, and it would not appear to a reasonable person that the items are being offered to influence the member's official actions.
  • A.Free public transportation on buses and trains operated by the Chicago Transit Authority.
  • B.Tokens or awards of appreciation in the form of a plaque, trophy, desk item, wall memento, or similar item.
  • C.Informational material, publications, or subscriptions related to the recipient’s performance of official duties.
  • D.Any corporate/business pricing, benefit, or service offer; group discount; or savings program offered specifically to all Department members by virtue of being City of Chicago employees or public safety professionals.
  • E.Admission to events, including the cost of food and beverage, sponsored by or in conjunction with a civic, charitable, governmental, or community organization.
    A community association holds a meeting on public safety and offers free food, neighborhood group holds a barbecue, or a bargaining unit or union holds a meeting.
  • F.Food and beverages consumed at hosted receptions open to members of the community, not just Department members.
  • G.Purchases of a beverage (e.g., cup of coffee) made by a business representative or community member for an individual officer with the total value being $5 or less and not to exceed $50 from a single source in a calendar year.
  • H.Meals and beverages motivated by a family or personal relationship (and not due to the recipient’s status as a Department member).
Eddie T. Johnson
Superintendent of Police
16-045 MWK