CHICAGO – Pulling back on proposed rule changes that upset some rank-and-file officers, police Superintendent Eddie Johnson has proposed a new use-of-force policy that is less restrictive than the one he floated five months ago.
A draft policy released in October drew complaints from both officers and police reform advocates, reported Chicago Tribune. Some officers said the draft policy was too restrictive for cops making split-second decisions under pressure, while reform advocates said it didn’t spell out clearly enough when police should and should not use force.
In a shift in tone and policy, the new draft proposal released Monday opens by proclaiming the department’s commitment to officer safety while eliminating a provision saying cops must use only the least amount of force needed. The draft also softens the department’s stance on officers using their new de-escalation training to defuse tense encounters, saying cops only have to try those tactics “when it is safe and feasible.”
Union officials welcomed the new draft, while policing experts described the changes as a mix of good and bad. The experts were concerned that department officials are backing off on the need to defuse confrontations in a department plagued by questionable shootings and Taser uses.