CHICAGO (WLS) --One Chicago alderman is pushing a plan to dramatically increase the number of Chicago police officers equipped with Tasers as the city continues the search for a new police superintendent.
The Chicago Police Department handed out its monthly service awards under a bigger spotlight than usual on Tuesday.
"The Chicago Police Department is under the national spotlight. The Department of Justice is here. It's good to see and remind ourselves why we do the job we do," said Interim Supt. John Escalante.
As the department struggles to deal with use of force issues that have plagued it as of late, Alderman Jason Ervin (28th Ward) is proposing that the department equip each one of its 12,500 sworn officers with Tasers, whether or not they work on the street. That differs significantly in scope and cost from the department's current initiative to double the number of Tasers currently on the street from 700 to 1400, a move that would equip, every officer who responds to calls for service on every shift with a Taser.
"It would actually save the city money. Just think about it. If there had been a Taser available for Laquan McDonald, that would have been $5 million that we wouldn't have had to spend, that would take us a long way to solving this particular issue," Ald. Ervin said.
All this is taking place as the Chicago Board of Police sifts through 39 applications for a permanent police superintendent. The board's head, Lori Lightfoot, addressed that search on Tuesday, and the question about how to deal with the police code of silence.
"What we have said is, how do you incentivize police officers not only to do their own job with integrity and honesty, but what do you do to motivate those folks to engage in a conversation of partners they know, or officers they know on the job that aren't doing the job the right way," Lightfoot said.
The Chicago Police Board expects to present the mayor with its recommendations for the city's next police superintendent by the end of February.