The City of Chicago has implemented a new policy that prohibits police officers from pursuing potential misdemeanor suspects on foot.
The policy strictly prohibits officers from chasing individuals who commit certain “less than Class A misdemeanor offenses,” including “business offenses, parking violations (e.g., curfew drinking on the public way),” and Class B or C misdemeanors including “simple assault or criminal trespass to land.”
Class A misdemeanors such as battery, aggravated assault, trespassing, and theft are exempt from this policy.
“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,” Chicago Police Superintendent David Brown told reporters at a press briefing on the policy.
“Department members should consider alternatives to engaging in or continuing a foot pursuit in the following circumstances…[if] the circumstances create a particularly high risk for the department members and the public,” the policy proposes.
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An officer should refrain from chasing an individual is if “the person being pursued is visibly armed with a firearm,” according to the policy.
The policy does not acknowledge a person’s avoidance of police as a reason for officers to pursue them on foot; officers are forbidden to chase after a suspect “based solely on a person’s response to the presence of police.”
“People may avoid contact with a member for many reasons other than involvement in criminal activity,” according to the directive.
The directive comes as the city of Chicago is reporting record-high crime numbers. City-wide crime has already increased by 34% from 2021 to 2022, according to police reports.
The Chicago Police Department did not respond to TheDCNF’s request for comment.