The number of police-involved shootings in the city has fallen nearly every year for the past seven years, according to Chicago Police Department data, with last year seeing 70% fewer such incidents than 2011.
The trend appears to be continuing into 2019. Only two persons have been shot so far this year by Chicago police, the department said, that is well behind pace for the first quarter, according to data maintained independently by HeyJackass.com
Police say the steady decline in officer-involved shootings may be credited to a host of revised practices and undertakings by CPD, including a new training curriculum, investment in less-lethal tools, and the rollout of police-worn body cameras.
“We’re continually searching for best practices in policing,” said CPD spokesman Howard Ludwig. “The latest revision of CPD’s Use of Force policy dates back to October 2017 and places the utmost emphasis on the sanctity of human life.”
The policy change was accompanied by a new emphasis on the use of force training, crisis de-escalation training, and community building at the Chicago police academy beginning that same year, Ludwig said.
“This new training also includes more scenario-based instruction and a cultural awareness training at The DuSable Museum of African American History for police recruits to delve into topics such as the history of African Americans in Chicago,” according to Ludwig.
CPD’s new academy courses aren’t limited to cadets, Ludwig said. All officers on the force will be required to complete 40-hours of in-service training annually by 2021.
The new training mindset is being accompanied by new tools for officers, Ludwig said: “CPD has invested heavily in non-lethal technologies, including the summer of 2016 purchase of Tasers and Taser training for all officers who respond to calls for service. SWAT teams also are equipped with non-lethal bean bag guns. And while it’s not exactly high tech, many officers carry non-lethal OC spray and batons.”
Although far fewer citizens are being shot by Chicago police, the city may be seeing an increase in the number of officers who are shot on-duty. Two CPD officers were fatally shot in the line of duty last year, the most since four were slain by gunmen in 2010, according to the Officer Down Memorial Page.