The ways police handle their duties have come under more scrutiny over the last few years. Recent deaths and questionable practices have led to politicians and officers creating new policies to keep more people safer.
Earlier this year, in response to a couple of last year’s incidents, police started discussing changes to their policy regarding foot chases. While these are sometimes necessary, foot chases can be dangerous for police and suspects.
Here’s what you should know about the proposed changes and when they will go into effect.
Limitations on chases
The current proposal limits when police can pursue someone on foot. According to the new policy, foot chases are only permitted when there is a “valid law enforcement need to detain the individual being pursued.” The policy also includes provisions to expand the role of supervisors so they can increase communication about the pursuit and when it should (or should not) continue.
The main idea of this policy is to keep officers from foot pursuits where the crime in question is not clear. While this policy does ban officers from pursuing suspects of crimes “less serious than a Class A misdemeanor,” critics of the new policy state that there should be more limits.
Suggestions for bigger changes
Residents and leaders alike are interested in a policy that does more to limit when police may pursue someone on foot. Rather than the vague “valid law enforcement need,” others would like to see foot pursuits specifically limited to threats to public safety or when the suspect has committed a serious violent crime. Leaders would also like to see documentation of all foot chases to determine if the policy needs to be revised.
While there are still some areas of the policy that could change, Chicago police expect to have a finalized version of the policy in place this summer.