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City Announces Major Overhaul Of Chicago's Police Training

By Kate Shepherd in News on Dec 30, 2015 10:24PM

Embattled Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced his latest plans to overhaul the Chicago Police Department's controversial practices in response to the tragic, fatal police shooting of two people on the West Side Saturday and the continuing outrage over the Laquan McDonald shooting video.

He hopes to reduce the number of people shot by Chicago police officers by training cops to make difficult situations "less confrontational and more conversational", according to the Tribune.

"With the right policies, the right procedures and the right practices, we can change our officers' perspectives to help them ensure their own safety and the safety of others," he said at a City Hall press conference Wednesday. "There's a difference between whether someone can use a gun and when they should use a gun. And we as a city must train for that difference."

Police officers will also be trained and equipped with 1,400 Tasers by June. There will be a taser in every beat car in the city.

Any police officer involved in a shooting will now be put on desk duty for 30 days, instead of just three days. The additional time will give cops time to seek professional counseling and training and the Independent Police Review Authority and the State's Attorney's Office time to investigate the incident, Interim Police Superintendent John Escalante said at the press conference.

During tense incidents, all officers will be encouraged to call in additional personnel.

"Our goal is to change the way officers think when they approach an incident," Escalante said.

The department studied 15 other police departments around the country, including New York City and Seattle, while developing the new policies.

Despite the positive steps, the mayor admitted that the changes in police culture won't happen overnight.

"Obviously, we as a city have a lot of work to do," Emanuel said.

The promise of change comes just a day after protestors waited outside Mayor Emanuel's Ravenswood home to welcome him back from his shortened family vacation to Cuba.