Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson is defending his department’s decision to hold off on implementing new guidelines for when officers can fire their guns and use other force.
Department officials announced the new use-of-force policy on Wednesday and said it would not take effect until this fall — after every cop had taken a four-hour course to learn the rules.
On Friday, Johnson told a meeting of more than 200 Chicago-area attorneys that training the department’s 12,000 sworn officers would take time.
“I don’t want to have one partner in a squad car and he’s trained on the new policy and the other partner isn’t, so they’re operating under two different policies,” Johnson said. “That’s setting them up for failure.”
The rules aim to cut back on shootings by officers and other uses of force that have harmed community trust in the police.
The department began revamping the rules after an outcry over the city’s court-ordered 2015 release of a video showing a white officer fatally shooting black teen Laquan McDonald.
The rules will replace a policy in place since 2002. One bars officers from shooting a fleeing suspect except “as a last resort to prevent an immediate threat of death of great bodily harm posed to officers or another person.”
The new policy also expands the definition of deadly force to include the use of chokeholds and striking a person’s head with an “impact weapon.”
The Associated Press contributed to this story.