Chicago, IL – A new policy unveiled by the Chicago Police Department (CPD) on Tuesday bans officers from chasing after suspects who run away from them for unknown reasons or for so-called minor offenses.
“People may avoid contact with a member for many reasons other than involvement in criminal activity,” the new foot pursuit policy states, according to WLS.
Suspects who simply run from officers for an unknown reason will no longer be pursued, and those suspected of offenses such as drinking in public, driving on a suspended license, or violating parking codes must be allowed to run off.
Officers will still be allowed to chase suspects if they believe a person is committing or about to commit a felony offense, a serious traffic offense like drunk driving, or a Class A misdemeanor, such as domestic battery, WLS reported.
CPD officers will also have discretion over whether or not to chase after suspects who they’ve determined are committing or are about to commit an offense that poses “an obvious threat to any person,” according to the policy.
“We’ve been working in conjunction with the consent decree monitor and other stakeholders in getting this right,” CPD Superintendent David Brown said during a press conference announcing the new policy on June 21.
“The safety of our community members and our officers remain at the core of this new foot pursuit policy,” he added, according to the Associated Press. “We collaborated internally with our officers and externally with our residents to develop a policy we all have a stake in.”
The policy also describes numerous incidents in which CPD officers must call off in-progress foot chases, WLS reported.
Such circumstances include requiring officers to abort pursuits if they don’t know their exact location, if they cannot communicate with other officers for any reason, or if an injured third party needs immediate medical attention and no one else is able to help them.
The policy further notes that officers and supervisors will not face discipline or criticism if they call off a chase or decide not to pursue a suspect in the first place, WLS reported.
Training on the new policy will begin immediately, with implementation by the end of the summer, according to the news outlet.