CHICAGO—Online training alone cannot adequately prepare Chicago police officers to implement a new foot chase policy, according to police tactics expert Adam Bercovici.
The new policy goes into effect today, only about two weeks after it was made public. Chicago police officers have completed a mandatory e-learning to get familiarized with the policy, according to Chicago Police Department spokesman Luis Agostini.
“You cannot really see the application of [a policing policy] in an online process. You have to get out there, set up real life scenario situations, critique them, debrief them—let them learn through mistakes in a safe environment,” Bercovici told The Epoch Times.
He reviewed the 12-page foot chase policy and considers it comprehensive and well thought out. “But the problem with all police policy, especially when it comes to tactics, is that you have to follow up with training and accountability,” he said.
Bercovici served over 30 years in Los Angeles Police Department before retiring in 2012 as a lieutenant. Since then, he has worked as a licensed private investigator and a consultant in police practices.
Chicago police chief David Brown unveiled the new foot chase policy on May 26, in the wake of the fatal shooting of 13-year-old Adam Toledo by a Chicago officer in a foot chase. The body camera footage showed the officer fired a shot into Toledo’s chest after Toledo dropped his gun and turned toward the officer.
Brown ordered the new policy to take effect in mid-June so officers could use these new practices during the typical summer violence spike in Chicago.
“The intention is good, but I think the practicality of it is unrealistic,” Bercovici said of the implementation timeline. He said it might take several years for a big police department like that of Chicago to get fully trained on a major policing policy.
“Start the online training process and then follow through with aggressive training to get everybody up to speed,” he suggested.
The Chicago Police Department did not respond by press time to an Epoch Times inquiry about training plans beyond mandatory e-learning.
The new foot chase policy comes in two major parts. One guides police officers on the pre-chase phase, where they weigh the safety risk of a foot pursuit against the need to immediately apprehend the offender. Officers are asked to deescalate or consider other alternatives—such as to arrest later or wait for backup—before they engage in a foot chase.
The second part guides police officers after a foot chase has ensued, advising them to activate the body cameras, notify the dispatcher, and always reassess the situations for an alternative to a continued foot chase.
The new policy is still an interim one at this stage. Community members can make anonymous recommendations to the policy through July 15, after which the Chicago Police Department will settle on a final policy.