CHICAGO, IL – According to a new policy set to be adopted by authorities in crime-ridden Chicago, Illinois, criminals will now be allowed to run away from police officers, whether they may engaged in illegal activity, or if they just don’t feel like dealing with the law at that moment.
The new policy states that officers may pursue individuals who are committing or are about to commit a felony or a Class A misdemeanor, in addition to serious traffic offences such as drunk driving. However, people are otherwise allowed to run from police for just about any other reason they please, and officers are now barred from chasing them.
“People may avoid contact with a member for many reasons other than involvement in criminal activity,” the policy states, which is set to go into effect by the end of the summer to give time for the city’s 11,900 police officers to receive training in how to adhere to it.
However, the policy now goes even further- police are now encouraged to “consider alternatives” to chasing people who are visibly brandishing a weapon such as a firearm.
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The policy comes after Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot insisted on changes following two high-profile fatal police shootings that took place in March 2021 during foot pursuits – 13 year-old Adam Toledo and 22 year-old Anthony Alvarez, both of whom were armed at the time.
Chicago Police Superintendent David Brown, when speaking to reporters on Tuesday, said that the department had already been looking into creating a foot pursuit policy, and believes that it will make the city safer overall.
“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,” he said.
For incidents which an officer is allowed to chase a criminal going forward, they will still be required to call it off if a third party is injured and requires assistance, or if an officer loses their bearings during a chaotic pursuit and becomes unsure of where they are. Officers are also not allowed to employ tactics that could potentially provoke an individual into running away, and will not face any discipline or criticism for calling off a chase.
The new policy was blasted by numerous individuals, including former Chicago Public Schools CEO Paul Vallas, who is running for Chicago mayor in 2023.
“This will embolden criminals and make the city even more dangerous,” he said. “We need MORE proactive policing, not less!”
The ban comes at a time when Chicago is in the midst of a skyrocketing crime wave, with year-over-year thefts up 65 percent, car thefts up 40 percent, burglaries up 31 percent, and overall crime up 34 percent.