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In 2017, the City of Chicago made sweeping changes to its use of force policies following a scathing Justice Department report after the 2014 killing of Laquan McDonald. The report stated that the city routinely violated the constitutional rights of residents. After reading the article below, which is a required unit resource for this unit, and after taking into consideration the current issues being faced by Chicago law enforcement, do you think the policy changes are effective and are helping to protect the community and the Chicago law enforcement officers? Why, or why not?

Jackman, T. (2017, May 17). Chicago police adopt de-escalation in sweeping change to use-of-force policy. Washington Post.


                                                             CLASSMATE’S POST

As a law enforcement officer, we were instructed that use of force is, “only that force reasonably necessary under the circumstances may be used”. Deadly force is only authorized when it’s believed the suspect poses significant threat of death or serious physical harm to that of the officer or others. When you read what is required for deadly force or any use of force it appears to be very cut and dry; however, it’s simply very difficult to make these determinations in an actual situation.  I’ve seen the video and agreed that deadly force was not authorized under the circumstances.  In fact, I could have thought of many other courses of action by the officer, but it’s very easy to make a judgement after the incident.  

After reading the report I do not think the policy changes have helped protect the community nor law enforcement officers. The initiatives were created from public outcry and driven politically.  That is not to say that public outcry is not justified or that officers do not need continued training on how to de-escalate situations or on use of deadly force.  The leaders within Chicago had to respond to numerous reports of civil rights violations (predominantly people of color) and to include the bad shoot of Laquan McDonald.  The initiatives created by leaders in Chicago were not supported by the fraternal order of police, which leads me to believe there is a great divide.  I found an interesting article that can be accessed below, it provides updated information that reflects a decline in officer involved shootings (Chicago).  From my experience and currently working with law enforcement officers, I think the decreasing of shootings is more about officers not engaging as much with suspects.  The active info-seeking of an officer has lessened as the climate towards officers has changed.  The policies which have been implemented in Chicago have brought attention to how policing is conducted which inheritably puts doubt in an officer’s loyalty.  In the end use of force can be very subjective on both sides (officer and suspect) will always have a point of view.  To protect the community and officers allocating the time and resources will make a difference.  In my opinion 25% of an officer’s time should be dedicated towards reoccurring training, but I understand that is not reality.  

Waldron, G. (2020, June). Shootings by Chicago Police

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