Chicago Unveils Foot-Chase Policy

by Jan Frazier

Chicago,  (Washington Insider Magazine)   On Wednesday, the Chicago Police Department released a new “foot-pursuit policy” that should make it safer for police who are chasing a suspect.

After fatal shootings are done by police earlier this year – namely of Adam Toledo, 13, and Anthony Alvarez, 21 – a new policy has come about. Among the rules, “the new policy prohibits foot pursuits for minor traffic violations.” It also stops officers from separating from other fellow officers “if they can’t see the person they’re chasing or if the officer or the person is injured.”

If the police officer has lost track of the person he is chasing, then the pursuit needs to end. Also, the chase must end if there is “too much distance or obstacles between the officer and the person being chased.” Lastly, if the person being apprehended seems to be confrontational, then the officer must give up the pursuit.

Even before a pursuit is started, the police officer needs to consider if the suspect is worth the risk of a foot apprehension. In addition, the policy says that “officers can pursue people on foot only with probable cause that the person committed a crime or is believed to be about to commit one.”

It is important that the officer, at all times, has on a body camera. 

Superintendent David Brown of Chicago said that these strategies have been used by officers all along, but putting it on paper makes the officers “subject to disciplinary action if they violate” the laws.

This new policy “will temporarily go into effect June 11.” Before it becomes permanent, however, the public will have a chance to offer feedback.

Brown said, “It’s essential the voices of our officers and community members are represented in policies that can directly affect them. As we transform the police department through reform, we will continue to collaborate with our residents to make Chicago safer for everyone.”

Because so many police pursuits have seemed unnecessary or have ended with police unnecessarily shooting people, this policy is now being considered. 

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot claimed, “Because foot pursuits are one of the most dangerous actions that police officers can engage in, we cannot afford to wait any longer to put a policy in place.”

SOURCE

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