Starting next year, every Chicago police officer will undergo 16 hours of training each year, the first regular training for many since graduating from the police academy as new recruits, the Chicago Tribune reports. The ambitious plan laid out by the Police Department calls for the training to expand to 40 hours a year for every officer beginning in 2021. It comes as the department attempts to add nearly 1,000 officers to its force by the end of next year, recruits who all must undergo months of training before hitting the street. The department said it expects the vast majority of officers to have completed a four-hour course on its revised use-of-force policy by Oct. 15, when those changes are scheduled to take effect.
The department has moved to beef up its training in the aftermath of the court-ordered release in late 2015 of police dashboard camera video showing a Chicago police officer shooting 17-year-old Laquan McDonald 16 times. A scathing U.S. Department of Justice report in January described the Police Department as a broken institution and singled out negligent training as among its many deficiencies. The department has provided only sporadic in-service training, refresher training through videos or new directives for officers to learn about during their roll calls. The department has already started requiring officers to take classes on Taser use, crisis intervention and training geared toward de-escalating incidents. First Deputy Superintendent Kevin Navarro said that even he had not gone through such a comprehensive regimen since he attended the police academy more than 30 years ago. “That’s something that we definitely need to change,” Navarro said. “It’s a win for Chicago police officers, and it’s a win also for Chicagoans.”