Chicago Police Dept. Looks To Weaken Use Of Force Rules

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Amber Randall Civil Rights Reporter
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Chicago’s police superintendent asked for the public’s help as the department considers a new use of force policy.

Supt. Eddie Johnson, speaking at a Union League Club breakfast Tuesday, urged attendees to express their opinions on the Chicago Police Department’s proposals for a new use of force policy, reports The Chicago Sun Times.

“I have to emphasize that if you don’t comment on it — and you don’t look at it, and you don’t comment on it — then don’t be upset with the policy that’s put in place because you didn’t help craft it,” Johnson declared.

The proposals include preventing officers from firing into crowds of people, buildings or other open spaces. The new draft of the policy places heavy emphasis on de-escalation and the sanctity of life. All officers involved in fatal shootings would be placed on mandatory administrative leave.

Under the new policy, officers would be limited to using a Taser up to three times in five-second intervals. If that does not work, the officer must find a different way to de-escalate the situation.

Mental health training would also be mandatory for officers.

Johnson pointed out that revising the use of force policy for over 12,000 police officers is a huge undertaking.

Anne Kirkpatrick, chief of the Bureau of Organizational Development, helped with the draft. Kirkpatrick said that the proposals are just “guidelines,” for which there can be exceptions.

“In the end we have very few absolute shall nots . . . There are exceptions to guidelines. And we want officers to use good common sense in knowing when there might be a deviation from any guide,” Kirkpatrick explained.

The public has until Dec. 5 to comment on the latest policy proposals.

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