With a long-awaited policy change, Chicago police officers will not be able to chase people on foot simply because they have run away or they’ve committed minor offenses.
The policy comes more than a year after a pursuit resulted in the fatal shooting of 13-year-old Adam Toledo in March 2021 and the shooting of 22-year-old Anthony Alvarez who were both unarmed when they ran from police in two separate pursuits. Their names were not mentioned in the policy announcement, per the Associated Press.
Chicago Police Superintendent David Brown said that the policy will not only make the public safer, but will also make officers safer.
“The impact on crime has been studied [and] we can look back at what has made officers safer, has made communities safer for over a decade,” Brown said.
The police superintendent added that the policy will be put in place by the end of the summer after all officers receive the new training.
Officers may pursue or chase a suspect who is committing or is about to commit a felony or a Class A misdemeanor such as domestic battery, drunken driving, and street racing.
Additionally, officers will not pursue a suspect for a minor offense or if the suspect’s address is known.
Further, the policy also includes circumstances where an officer must call off a pursuit: if a third party is injured and needs immediate medical attention that can’t be provided by anyone else.
If an officer becomes disoriented — which is possible in a chaotic situation in which they are running through alleys and between houses — or if they find themselves unable to communicate with other officers for any reason, they must stop.
The policy change comes five years after the Department of Justice said that Chicago PD conducted too many chases — with many ending in shootings. It also comes three years after the city entered into a consent decree which included the requirement of a foot pursuit policy.