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Police Union: New Use Of Force Training For Officers Violates Our Contract

By Heather Cherone | September 22, 2017 2:16pm | Updated on September 26, 2017 11:45am
 Flanked by First Deputy Police Supt. Kevin Navarro, Mayor Rahm Emanuel said the Police Department's new policy is in
Flanked by First Deputy Police Supt. Kevin Navarro, Mayor Rahm Emanuel said the Police Department's new policy is in "the best interests of the public."
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DNAinfo/Heather Cherone

NEAR WEST SIDE — The union representing most police officers asked state officials on Friday to block the Chicago Police Department's new use of force policy that aims to focus on the "sanctity of life," saying the much-touted changes violate its contract with the City of Chicago.

A statement from Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 7 President Kevin Graham said city officials have made a number of "unilateral changes without negotiating them through the collective-bargaining process."

"The city is not negotiating in good faith, and, frankly, we are tired of it," Graham said, asking state labor officials to halt the policy change.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel said Friday that the police union's challenge would not stop the new policy from going into effect on Oct. 15, once most officers have taken a four-hour course on the new policy, which requires the use of force be "reasonable and proportional."

Beginning in 2018, all officers will take a second, eight-hour, scenario-based course on the revised policy. All officers will be required to take 40 hours of continuing education annually by 2021.

The new policy is in "the best interests of the public," Emanuel said after welcoming the latest class of recruits to the Police Department academy.

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.

The investigation also found that officers are too rarely held accountable for misconduct, and discipline is unpredictable and ineffective.

READ THE FULL JUSTICE DEPARTMENT REPORT HERE

First Deputy Supt. Kevin Navarro, who is leading the Police department while Supt. Eddie Johnson recovers from a kidney transplant, said he is confident that the policy is in the best interest of the public.

"We did it the right way," Navarro said, noting that the policy was revised twice, and members of the public were allowed to review and comment on its provisions before it was adopted by Police Department officials.

Emanuel said the majority of people who weighed in on the policy were officers, which he said, proved officers were "heard and listened to."

Emanuel repeated his assertion that efforts to reform the Police Department will be done "with our officers rather than to our officers."

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."

Elected in April, Graham promised to fight "the anti-police movement in the city" during contract negotiations with the city. The union's contract with the city expired June 30.

The Coalition for Accountability in Police Contracts — which includes the American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois and Action Now — has said it will press Emanuel and the City Council to reject any agreement that fails to ensure that police officers will be held responsible for misconduct.

That puts the mayor squarely in the middle of a looming fight between the union and the 11 members of the City Council's black caucus, which endorsed the coalition's goals and has vowed to vote against any police contract that does not significantly change the way allegations of officer misconduct are investigated.

The union has also moved to block Police Department officials from changing how officers are disciplined and a requirement that all officers wear body cameras.

Read the new policy here:

Use of Force Full Text by Jen Sabella on Scribd