Chicago Police Department unveils final foot pursuit policy, more than a year after two controversial fatal shootings by officers

Scrutiny of the department’s policy grew after the fatal police shootings of 13-year-old Adam Toledo and 21-year-old Anthony Alvarez during chases last March.

Adam Toledo memorial in Chicago
A memorial for Adam Toledo, a 13 year-old boy who was shot and killed by Chicago police officers in March of 2021, sits approximately where Toledo was shot at the entrance of an alleyway near West 24th Street and South Sawyer Avenue, in the Little Village neighborhood, Tuesday, March 15, 2022. Tyler Pasciak LaRiviere / Chicago Sun-Times
Adam Toledo memorial in Chicago
A memorial for Adam Toledo, a 13 year-old boy who was shot and killed by Chicago police officers in March of 2021, sits approximately where Toledo was shot at the entrance of an alleyway near West 24th Street and South Sawyer Avenue, in the Little Village neighborhood, Tuesday, March 15, 2022. Tyler Pasciak LaRiviere / Chicago Sun-Times

Chicago Police Department unveils final foot pursuit policy, more than a year after two controversial fatal shootings by officers

Scrutiny of the department’s policy grew after the fatal police shootings of 13-year-old Adam Toledo and 21-year-old Anthony Alvarez during chases last March.

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The Chicago Police Department released a final version of a foot pursuit policy Tuesday, concluding a lengthy process that came under heavy scrutiny after the fatal police shootings of 13-year-old Adam Toledo and 21-year-old Anthony Alvarez during chases last March.

The policy includes increased oversight, “clearer guidelines” and additional training for officers, as well as improved data collection to analyze pursuits, according to a department statement.

It will replace a temporary chase policy by the end of the summer, after officers have been trained on the new requirements.

“The expectation for us is … what we’ll learn — and be informed — by our documentation and review of how to continue to enhance officer safety, as well as enhance the safety of our residents,” Supt. David Brown said during a Tuesday news conference at police headquarters.

The policy is based on “national best practices” and input from the Illinois attorney general’s office and an independent monitoring team tracking the department’s compliance with sweeping court-ordered reforms, according to CPD.

The monitoring team had recommended the department adopt a foot pursuit policy last March, weeks before Alvarez and Toledo were fatally shot by officers during separate chases.

Toledo was fatally shot in the chest moments after he dropped a gun and raised his hands, while Alvarez was shot in the back while holding a firearm.

The CPD unveiled a temporary policy last May before releasing a draft of the final policy in February , soliciting the public’s input after facing criticism the temporary policy was vague and insufficient.

Brown said police officials had been discussing a foot pursuit policy “for several years before those shootings happened,” acknowledging that a previous “training bulletin” on chases was likely inadequate.

In addition to “listening to the community” and negotiating with the monitoring team and other “stakeholders,” Brown said officers discussed their concerns about being “supported in doing their job.”

“That has taken time,” Brown said. “But it was time well spent.”

Under the final policy, officers are prohibited from engaging in chases unless “there is a valid need to detain the person” that “outweighs the threat to safety posed by pursuit.”

Cops can only chase suspects who have committed — or who are about to commit — a felony, a Class A misdemeanor or a traffic offense that “endangers the physical safety of others,” or an “arrestable offense” that “poses an obvious physical threat to any person.”

Officers are prohibited from pursuing people engaged in some misdemeanors, like parking and ordinance violations, and certain traffic offenses such as licensing and insurance violations.

However, Brown acknowledged “the officer decides” whether to engage a suspect based on “reasonable suspicion.”

“It’s the standard for everything we do. … It’s the legal standard. It’s the constitutional standard,” he said. “So that’s not a change that should alarm any officers or any critics of whether or not [the] foot pursuit allows you to do your job.”

Robert Boik, the executive director of the CPD’s Office of Constitutional Policing and Reform, said the finalized policy includes two main changes: “enhanced supervision” that mandates two separate reviews of pursuits; and a form for officers to fill out after engaging in a chase to ensure the department is “collecting information that better informs policies, tactics [and] training.”

Boik noted the new policy “will not go into effect until every officer has been trained” on the changes.

“We expect that training to occur over the next several weeks,” he added. “But we do expect the policy to go live by the end of the summer.”

The finalized policy can be read here .

This is a developing story. Please check back for updates.