New CPD foot pursuit policy outlined by Supt. David Brown

ByRavi Baichwal, Eric Horng, and ABC7 Chicago Digital Team WLS logo
Wednesday, May 26, 2021
Supt. Brown outlines new CPD foot chase policy
Chicago Police Superintendent David Brown outlined a new foot pursuit policy Wednesday.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Chicago Police Superintendent David Brown outlined a new foot pursuit policy Wednesday.

This new interim policy will go into effect on June 11, and will be available for public comment and discussed at community meetings, Brown said. A final updated CPD foot pursuit policy will go into effect in September.

Brown said the new policy is meant to help officers balance out their decision to chase a subject, and adds more consideration for the safety of the officer, their fellow responding officers and the person being chased as well.

Chicago Police Superintendent David Brown outlined a new foot pursuit policy Wednesday.

Under the new interim policy, a foot pursuit is only considered appropriate if there is probable cause for an arrest, or if an individual has committed, is committing or is about to commit a crime or endanger the public, Brown said. Foot pursuits are prohibited for minor traffic offenses; the offense in question must be a Class A Misdemeanor or higher.

The new policy also aims to reduce the possibility of the need for a foot pursuit, and encourages officers to take other tactics to stop a suspect, including setting up a perimeter or containment area, conducting surveillance or considering whether the suspect could be apprehended at another time and place.

"Officers must ask themselves if the need to apprehend the subject is worth the risk to the responding officers, the public, or the offender," Brown said.

Brown said that while officers will not need to have a pursuit approved by a supervisor beforehand, supervisors do have the authority to stop a foot chase at any time.

Additionally, officers are prohibited from chasing a person on foot if the officer or the person is injured, if the officer has lost track of their location or their surroundings, if there is too much distance or obstacles between the officer and the person they are chasing, and if they will not be able to control the subject of the chase in a confrontation. Police officers must activate body worn cameras for every foot pursuit.

WATCH: Political analyst Laura Washington details CPD foot pursuit policy

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The announcement comes on the heels of two high-profile fatal police shootings following foot chases, 13-year-old Adam Toledo and 22-year-old Anthony Alvarez.

"As I look at this policy, had it been in effect on March 31st, Anthony Alvarez would still be alive," said Todd Pugh, attorney for Alvarez's family.

Police have not said what alleged offense led officers to chase Alvarez. The new policy says there must be probable cause for the pursuit, and that it "...[can't be] based solely on a person's response to the presence of police..."

"Is a guy drinking on a public way who runs away from the police who come rolling up on a corner with their lights on, is that really a bad guy that you're trying to apprehend or is it someone who's violating a city ordinance?" Pugh said.

Mayor Lori Lightfoot applauded the new policy, while the Fraternal Order of Police said it will further strangle officers and allow crime to increase in Chicago.

"Chicago recovers more weapons than New York and LA combined. Most of those weapons are recovered either as the result of a vehicle stop or a foot chase," said John Catanzara, president, Fraternal Order of Police.

The policy will be posted shortly to the Chicago Police Department's website so the public can read it in full. On June 1 the department will hold a public webinar, and the first community conversation on the police is tentatively scheduled for June 30. A second community conversation will be held on July 10. The first public comment period online will end on July 15, and on July 23 the final policy draft will be posted online for a final 15-day public comment period.