CHICAGO – The Chicago Police Department has unveiled a new policy prohibiting its officers from chasing people on foot simply because they run away — commonly associated with reasonable suspicion based upon a totality of circumstances — or because they have committed “minor offenses,” a rather broad and ambiguous category that may or may not be readily identifiable when a person bails from police.
The policy, which was introduced Tuesday, also encourages officers to “consider alternatives” to pursuing someone who “is visibly armed with a firearm.” In other words, career criminals who are already getting every break under the sun in our “re-imagined” criminal justice system have now been invited to flee police since they are in essence being told, “we probably will not chase you.”
Under the policy, officers may give chase if they believe a person is committing or is about to commit a felony, a Class A misdemeanor such as domestic battery, or a serious traffic offense that could risk injuring others, such as drunken driving or street racing, the New York Post reported.
However, we have to ask, isn’t someone “visibly armed with a firearm,” most likely in this category? Yet the city wants officers to “consider alternatives”? This policy is so muddled up it is sure to create nightmare scenarios for well-intentioned officers trying to perform their duty.
Furthermore, it is often unclear clear that a suspect has committed the aforementioned violations when they initially split from officers. That is what happens when political hacks make ridiculous policy decisions without real world experience.
This is worse than risk-averse, it’s risk-avoidance. Sadly, you cannot avoid all risk when it comes to enforcing the law. When you create policies to avoid risk at all costs, criminal win!
So who is going out on a limb when a perp splits? Not too many under this new policy, which surely means more suspects who commit violent crimes will elude capture, making the streets of Chicago more dangerous.
“People may avoid contact with a member for many reasons other than involvement in criminal activity,” the policy states, as it gives the benefit of the doubt to the person who decides to bolt from police, as opposed to the officer whose intuition is usually right when chasing an individual who is running from police.
The long-awaited foot chase ban is expected to go into effect by the end of the summer, after the city’s 11,900 uniformed police officers receive training.
Last year, the State of Washington implemented similar criteria when it comes to vehicle pursuits. Can you guess what happened? Of course, more drivers decided to flee. You can bet your last dollar the same thing will happen with criminals on foot in Chicago.