Chicago Police Can No Longer Chase Fleeing Criminals

As expected, Chicago police will soon be handcuffed by a new department policy that restricts them from chasing many or most suspects on foot if they run away. The new rules, approved Tuesday, mean a large number of criminals may simply flee to avoid contact with law enforcement.

Cops under the policy are allowed to give chase if they believe a person is or is about to commit a felony, a “serious” misdemeanor like domestic battery, or a “serious” traffic offense. These include drunk driving and street racing.

If the person has a visible firearm, the new rules encourage police to “consider alternatives.” The policy declares that people may flee from law enforcement “for many reasons other than involvement in criminal activity.”

That must be an interesting list to read.

The prohibition of foot chases means Chicago’s nearly 12,000 uniformed officers must receive special training. Officials say that will likely take the rest of the summer, and then the policy will go into effect.

This shift is years in the making, but it gathered momentum after two incidents in March 2021. Police pursued and fatally shot 13-year-old Adam Toledo and 22-year-old Anthony Alvarez within days of each other. Both suspects were armed.

Even after officers begin a foot chase, there will be specific rules for calling off the pursuit. Some are logical, such as providing immediate medical assistance to an injured third party if there is no one else to help.

Other rules mandate ending the chase if the pursuing officer does not know exactly where they are. Any situation where a cop giving chase cannot communicate with other officers, such as a dropped radio, means the pursuit must end.

Chicago PD Superintendent DavidBrown told a Tuesday news conference that officer safety and accountability will improve. He also claimed that trust between police and communities they patrol will benefit.

Pursuing officers must file a report, and every foot chase under the new policy will be reviewed by CPD to ensure it followed protocol.

The Windy City is not the first to implement this policy. Rather, it follows in the footsteps of safe urban utopias such as Baltimore, Philadelphia, and Portland, Oregon.

Critics charge the new measure will only embolden criminals and limit the ability of officers to do their jobs. The harsh reality is that restricting cops from apprehending criminals is just ‘Defund the Police’ 2.0. The results are likely to be the same.