The Chicago Police Department is stuck in the Stone Age, from training that relies on 35-year-old videos to outdated pursuit tactics that imperil suspects, officers, and innocent bystanders, says the scathing 161-page report released last Friday by the Justice Department, the Chicago Sun-Times reports. The city’s police department has the officers “to make community policing work,” the report said, but mostly it is a searing indictment, offering narratives of rookies who can’t answer basic questions about the use of force, veteran cops shooting people who don’t pose a threat, and supervisors who’d rather be friends with their officers than discipline them for using racial slurs or other misconduct.
The report takes aim at a series of “unsound tactics” that cops have used for decades to pressure or pursue suspects. The report argues that those tactics can alienate communities and, in many cases, lead to unnecessary violence. At the top of the list are foot chases. The feds found police routinely chased people simply because they’d run away and not because they were suspected of a particular crime. On many occasions, the result was a deadly shooting. Foot pursuits are “inherently dangerous,” the report states, because they can make police tired and full of adrenaline, impairing their ability to make sound decisions. The feds were deeply critical of what’s known as a “jump out” — when cops in unmarked cars speed up to corners where people are gathered, come to an abrupt stop and hop out, ready to pursue anyone.