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.”

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.

“It is among the first examples of what I consider to be the vital partnership we need in our city where officers and residents work together to shape how we make our streets safer,” Johnson said in a statement.

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 Garaham said he does not believe extensive changes should be made to the current policy.

“Three Chicago Police Officers have been shot in the last two weeks. The reality is that many offenders do not want to go to jail and they become resistant or combative with officers,” Graham said in a statement. “These violators determine the level of response by Officers.”

Still, Graham said the FOP is willing to work with Johnson on the new measures. 

The policy changes are set to take effect in the fall of 2017.

Published 3 hours ago

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