Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel Announces Police Training Overhaul

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel responds to unrest over police shootings.

ByJulia Jacobo
December 30, 2015, 3:49 PM

— -- Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced Wednesday that the city will overhaul police tactics and training to mitigate tension between residents and officers following the outrage caused by the deadly police shootings of Laquan McDonald in 2014 and Bettie Jones and Quintonio LeGrier on Saturday.

Emanuel said that any officer involved in a shooting will be put on desk duty for 30 days. Previously, they were only subject to three days of desk duty, even if the shooting was fatal.

The police department will also double the number of tasers used by police to 1,400 and will encourage trained officers to use them first before drawing a gun, Emanuel said.

After reviewing crisis response tactics over the past couple months, the city of Chicago has set an initiative to improve communications between officers and individuals in tense situations.

"Force can be the last option, not the first choice," Emanuel said. "The goal is to make sure everyone goes home safely."

The Chicago Police Department studied other police departments around the country to shape its new policing guidelines, Police Superintendent John Escalante said Wednesday, including the New York and Seattle police departments.

Emanuel wants to change the policing culture in the city of Chicago, he said, but added that also said it "will not be done overnight."

"Obviously, we as a city have a lot of work to do," he said.

Misconduct and abuse among police officers will not be tolerated, Emanuel added, because it "makes it harder" for "good" police officers to do their job well. The city aims to inject "some humanity into the work of our police department and police officers," he said.

Emanuel announced Monday that he’d be returning early from his family vacation in Cuba after an additional shooting of Jones, a 55-year-old grandmother and LeGrier, 19, Saturday prompted public outrage. He has been under public pressure since the dashboard-camera footage was released of the shooting 17-year-old Laqaun McDonald by officer Jason VanDyke in October 2014. He has since said he will not be resigning.

Van Dkye plead not guilty to the shooting death of McDonald Tuesday morning after he was arrested Nov. 24 and released on $1.5 million bond.

Van Dyke's arraignment came amid outrage of Saturday morning's shooting, when Jones and LeGrier were killed by police to a domestic disturbance call early Saturday. Antonio LeGrier, Quintonio's father, placed the call after the two had been arguing.

"Upon arrival, officers were confronted by a combative subject resulting in the discharging of the officer's weapon, fatally wounding two individuals," a police statement said.

Jones, a grandmother and mother of five, was accidentally struck by a bullet, the statement said.

The officer involved in that case has been placed on 30 days desk duty.

In a press conference Wednesday, Escalante said the shooting was "nothing more than a tragic accident."

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