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Lightfoot, Chicago Police Department announce new foot pursuit policy by WGN May 26, 2021

CHICAGO — Mayor Lightfoot and the Chicago Police Department released the city’s new foot pursuit on Wednesday that will be implemented next month.

The city said foot pursuits stemming from minor traffic offenses and criminal offenses less than a Class A misdemeanor will now be prohibited.

CPD will implement the policy beginning on June 11 and the department will continue to review the policy and make revisions as appropriate, with a finalized policy to be completed in September.

Ahead of the policy going into effect, sworn CPD members will have to complete a mandatory e-learning that will familiarize them with it, the city said.

The proposed changes come after the department has been under the spotlight for recent deadly shootings of 13-year-old Adam Toledo and 22-year-old Anthony Alvarez.

Chicago police released the following highlights of the new policy.

  • Reminding officers to begin any interaction with tactics meant to reduce the possibility of a foot pursuit.
  • Defining foot pursuits as appropriate only when there is probable cause for an arrest or it is believed an individual has committed, is committing or is about to commit a crime.
  • Prohibiting foot pursuits stemming from minor traffic offenses.
  • Detailing tactics to avoid a foot pursuit, including continual communication with a subject and encouraging officers to position themselves in such a way to reduce the opportunity for a foot chase.
  • Outlining alternatives to foot pursuits that should always be considered by officers, including establishing a surveillance or containment area and/or apprehending an identified suspect at another time or place.
  • Ensuring circumstances surrounding a foot pursuit are considered before any foot pursuit takes place. Officers must ask themselves if the need to apprehend the subject is worth the risk to responding officers, the public, or the subject.
  • Prohibiting foot pursuits for criminal offenses less than a Class A misdemeanor, unless the person poses an obvious threat to the community or any person.
  • Discontinuing foot pursuits if someone is injured and requires immediate medical assistance; if officers are unaware of their location; and if the need to apprehend the subject is not worth the risk to responding officers, the public or the subject.
  • Informing Department members that they should not separate from their partner or from assisting units in a foot pursuit if the loss of visual contact, excessive distance or nearby obstacles interfere with their ability to come to the aid of their partner.
  • Termination of a foot pursuit if officers engaged in the pursuit believe they would not be able to control the suspect if a confrontation were to occur.
  • Outline responsibilities for supervisors, which allow them to instruct officers to discontinue a foot pursuit at any time.
  • Requiring officers to notify the Office of Emergency Management and Communications (OEMC) of a foot pursuit.
  • Ensuring officers engaged in foot pursuits activate body-worn cameras to record the entire incident in accordance with the Department’s body-worn camera policy.

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