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Police Training On When Police Can Use Force Begins

By Heather Cherone | July 5, 2017 10:31am | Updated on July 7, 2017 11:17am
 The Chicago Police Department unveiled its new use of force policy on Wednesday.
The Chicago Police Department unveiled its new use of force policy on Wednesday.
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DNAinfo/Kelly Bauer

CHICAGO — Officials on Wednesday began training the city's 13,000 police officers on the Chicago Police Department's new use of force policy that aims to focus on the "sanctity of life."

The policy, which will be implemented once all members of the department have been trained, requires that the use of force be "reasonable and proportional."

The policy was adopted in May after a year spent reworking the rules in the wake of the fatal shooting of Laquan McDonald. That shooting prompted an investigation by the U.S. Justice Department that found Chicago officers routinely violated the civil rights of residents by using excessive force; it also cited poor training and nonexistent supervision.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel Wednesday said the effort to revise the use of force policy was "one part of the comprehensive reform" coming to the Police Department.

Emanuel has said the goal of the policy is to give officers the "certainty" they need to be proactive to fight a surge of murders and shootings concentrated on Chicago's West and South Side communities.

Officers may only use force when necessary because of a threat to life or imminent bodily harm to them or others, according to the policy. It also takes into account the suspect's "proximity or access to weapons."

"The greater the threat and the more likely that the threat will result in death or serious physical injury, the greater the level of force that may be necessary to overcome it," the rules say. "When or if the subject offers less resistance, however, the [officer] will decrease the amount or type of force accordingly."

Critics of the Police Department say the current rules are insufficient and do not protect against excessive force. The current policy focuses largely on whether a use of force is reasonable, which many experts say is an outdated way to judge an officer’s actions.

The new policy "clearly, clearly" calls on officers to report others who don't follow the policy when using force, Chicago Police Supt. Eddie Johnson said, and officers who don't report misdeeds can be "culpable."

Officers will undergo four-hour, in-person training by the fall, when the policy is expected to go into effect, and there will be another eight hours of training next year, officials said.

Read the new policy here:

Use of Force Full Text by Jen Sabella on Scribd