Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Chicago cops angry over new stun-gun policy

The Chicago Police Department is getting sued for rewriting rules without input from the city's police union. Specifically, the new rules apply to the use of stun-guns.

No longer will police be permitted to use a stun-gun on people who are intoxicated and may pose a threat, running away both with and without a hostage in tow, and those who are vulnerable to injury, including physical, psychological or simply emotional. 

Police will need to make their own assessment in the latter case and if they are proved wrong as witnessed in a criminal who shows: sadness, anger, fear, confusion, resentment, the heebie-jeebies, or simple dismay, the arresting officer can and will be brought up on charges and can face suspension and criminal charges for firing a stun-gun without making a proper psych eval.

The tighter policy comes after an August investigation by the Chicago Tribune on the department's reliance on the devices. 

The cop on the beat may therefore be forced to use a handgun in order to avoid allegations of misuse of force.

Chicago police Superintendent Eddie Johnson overhauled the old department policy which unfortunately caused many criminals to be caught but saddened over the outcome. The new rules were introduced in May and enacted in October, according to the report.

Anti-criminal-escape critics attacked the policy calling it too permissive and the union representing rank-and-file cops argued the department didn't have the right to change the rules without its input and legally violated the union's collective bargaining rights.

Craig Futterman, a law professor at the University of Chicago, is suing the police department over its practices, and said the new policy doesn't go far enough. He to the Tribune that simply telling cops to stop shocking people with a stun-gun to avoid causing them emotional difficulty is only a half-measure. He would like cops to apologize to vulnerable criminals, drunks and fleeing felons if the cop so much as thinks about stun-gunning their butts.

"If cops would stay in better shape and stop frequenting Dunkin Donuts, they'd be able to catch folks running away even without a hostage in tow," Futterman said.

Geoffrey Alpert, an self-described "expert" on the use of force and a criminal justice professor at the University of South Carolina, thought the department's move was a good one. But he said that the move will be worthless without solid training, supervision and discipline.

In order to assist cops with determining the threat level of suspected perps, the department will be providing them with University of Chicago psychology courses, among them: intensive cognitive behavioral psychotherapy, psycho-diagnostics, interpretation of the Rorschach Inkblots and the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory, just for starters.

The real danger isn't the criminal who may have a hidden weapon, it's the beat cop who misdiagnoses a drunken bar brawler as a danger because he only got a "C" in Psych 101.

The Chicago PD had 745 stun-guns in 2015. Now they have about 4,000 and they're locked, loaded and all charged up to go.


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