Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Interim Police Superintendent John Escalante are announcing today a five-step “de-escalation” approach to handling potential conflicts and standoffs, including making sure every “operational” on-duty officer is equipped with a Taser by next June 1, reports the Chicago Sun-Times. “While recent events have brought this issue to the forefront for us all, for far too long Chicago – like cities around the country — has faced far too many incidents where officers shot and killed unarmed people,” Emanuel said. “We need a new reality.” The city is adding 700 Tasers, twice the current total.
Besides new equipment, officers will “ask themselves a series of key questions as an event unfolds” to determine the best course of action. Training for the new policies will begin next week. “In the very near future, more intensive, in-service and scenario-based training will also be conducted,” the city said. It wasn’t immediately clear where the funds are coming from for the new training and equipment. With new training, officers will be encouraged to ask themselves questions such as: “What is the full range of options for how to respond?” “Do I need to take action immediately or can I slow the situation down and buy more time?” and “Am I the best person to deal with this or should I request assistance from Specialized Units such as a Crisis Intervention Team?”