Veteran Chicago cops say police officers don't get enough training, especially for volatile calls

ByChuck Goudie and Barb Markoff, Christine Tressel and Ross Weidner WLS logo
Friday, March 3, 2023
Veteran cops say police officers doesn't get enough training
Domestic violence calls can be among the most difficult for police to navigate and control, but veteran cops say many CPD officers don't get the advanced training they need.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Domestic violence calls are common for police and so too is the danger. Encounters can quickly go sideways; someone can run, there can be a chase, it can turn violent, with gunshots, and someone can end up wounded or dead.

That's exactly what happened Wednesday, resulting in the death of Chicago Police Officer Andres Vasquez-Lasso.

READ MORE: Chicago man charged with murder for shooting death of CPD officer

Two veteran law enforcement officers spoke to I-Team about how easy it is for police serving and protecting to suddenly have to prevent a domestic encounter from going sideways.

"I don't want to say that Chicago is a warzone, but you have 800 people murdered in a year, almost 800 in a year, and over 2,000 people shot on a yearly basis. That's a rough environment. And our officers are out there on the frontlines," said John Garrido., recently retired Chicago police lieutenant.

Garrido was on the front lines until November 2022 and served in the department for 32 years. His father was worked with CPD in a different era.

"More and more people out there are feeling comfortable with running around with weapons. That just the way things have changed especially over the last few years," He said. "These, these offenders are people, they're carrying guns more often because they're not worried about being stopped and having them taken away from them. And so by carrying those weapons, they're gonna be more likely to use them. I don't want to say that we feel like we're invincible. You just, you don't think you're going to get hurt."

Vasquez-Lasso was killed fielding one of those domestic violence calls that cops are taught to never treat lightly.

Ed Farrell was a deputy US Marshal in Chicago for decades, working a task force that trained local police officers.

"No one has ever told me they thought they were properly trained. That they had the advanced training, they should," Farrell said. "A lot of officers feel they get their basic training in the academy and a lot of it just ends right there. We need to invest in our officers training, giving them what is called officer survival training, and making sure that we're able to invest long term this is not going to happen overnight. There's thousands of Chicago police officers; getting 'em trained to the level that they should be would take years."

But without increased continuing education and officer on-the-job training, Garrido said the price may be what happened Wednesday evening.

"This is of course my first time experiencing it as a retiree and it's it was just as heartbreaking as if I was still on the job," he said. "We don't even have to know the officer because even though we don't personally know him, we know him. He's us. And, it just... it's heartbreaking."

The retired lieutenant said officers trained in the academy to serve and protect then are essentially on their own, figuring out how to prevent others from getting hurt or worse.

Other than having to qualify on the gun range, he said some officers go years without real in-service training, in large part, he said, because there are so many vacancies on CPD's payroll the cops can't be replaced for training.

There's been no report yet on what contributed to Wednesday's fatal shooting, but training of all on scene officers will be among the items examined.