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The Chicago Police Department (CPD) on Tuesday announced a new foot-pursuit policy that bars officers from chasing people under certain circumstances.
Chicago officers will no longer be able to chase people because run away during a confrontation or people who give chase over minor incidents, among other circumstances, according to the new policy.
CPD Superintendent David Brown emphasized his hope that the new policy will improve officer safety and accountability, as well as trust between officers and communities, during a Tuesday press conference.
“It’s new to the Chicago Police Department. It’s not new to law enforcement. … It’s made officers safer,” he told reporters.
Foot-pursuit policies “keep officers safe” and limit “physicality” between officers and offenders — especially armed offenders. It also helps police departments to “train officers” to be safer during foot pursuits, he said.
Officers may engage in foot pursuits when they believe the need to detain an offender outweighs the risk of chasing potentially armed suspects to both the public and to officers. Law enforcement officers must have a valid reason for wanting to detain offenders who flee, according to the new policy.
“Because of the inherent risks involved in [f]oot [p]ursuits, the most appropriate tactical option to safely apprehend a fleeing person will differ in every circumstance,” the new policy states.
Officers will have to establish reasonable suspicion that a person has committed, is committing, or is about to commit a felony or other offense that endangers public safety in order to lead a foot pursuit. Law enforcement members will be barred from chasing those who commit or are about to commit more minor crimes under the new rule.
Additionally, CPD will be reviewing all foot pursuits, according to a policy draft.
“The safety of our community members and our officers remains at the core of this new foot pursuit policy,” the superintendent said in a statement. “We collaborated internally with our officers and externally with our residents to develop a policy we all have a stake in.”
The new policy comes after two fatal officer-involved shootings of 22-year-old Anthony Alvarez and 13-year-old Adam Toldeo occurred last year, but Brown suggested during Tuesday’s press conference that the department has been exploring foot-pursuit policies for years.
Both deaths, which were captured on body camera and surveillance footage, prompted protests in the U.S., as well as calls from Latino leaders for a moratorium on police foot pursuits. Footage of the incidents showed that foot pursuits took place before both shootings and the suspects appeared to have handguns prior to being shot.
So far in 2022, 25 CPD officers have been shot or shot at, Brown told reporters Tuesday.
Meanwhile, shootings have decreased 22% year-over-year since last June, and homicides are down 21% year-over-year. Additionally, CPD has recovered 2,600 illegal firearms in 2021.
Fox News’ David Aaro and The Associated Press contributed to this report.