Chicago police leadership say using deadly force should be a “last resort” in a conflict, a policy the district aims to emphasize in its new set of guidelines announced Wednesday.
Supt. Eddie Johnson said the department’s new use of force policy “represents a major step forward for the department.”
“For the first in the department’s history, we’ve publicly released a draft of the use of force policy," he said. "There's no reason that CPD cannot be the model police agency across this country. We're going to get there."
The changes mark the first revisions to the department’s use of force policy since 2002. It also marked the first time the public was able to comment on the potential changes.
Chicago Police Board President Lori Lightfoot cited situations like the Laquan McDonald shooting as a reason for the re-evaluation of the department's policies.
“If we have to look back to that tragedy (LaQuan McDonald) that propelled us to this place and moves us forward then so be it," she said.
The first element of the policy centers on the sanctity of life. It also requires officers to offer medical aid to those injured in use-of-force incidents, if the officer is trained to do so.
Officers will also be required to report any abuse seen in the field to a supervisor.
Force should “not be used against someone exercising their first amendment rights,” the guidelines state.
Going forward, the department plans to use a “rigorous training plan” to ensure the new policy is implemented properly. Beginning this year, ever sworn CPD officer will take a computer-based course on the new policy, followed by an orientation with a four-hour training session that must be completed by the fall.
By next year, all members of the department will also need to take an eight-hour “scenario-based training course that will utilize the new policy in real-world situations.”
The training will include de-escalation tactics as well as demonstrating how and when to deploy Tasers, K-9 and other tools.
The policy changes follow a U.S. Department of Justice investigation into the department and the fatal police shooting of Laquan McDonald.
Fraternal Order of Police President Kevin Graham said he does not believe extensive changes should be made to the current policy.
"I don't think it needed to be done," he said. "But we are always looking fo rnew ways that both our officers and the public can be safe. So we're going to have to take a look at it."
The policy changes are set to take effect in the fall of 2017.