Nearly nine months after a damning Department of Justice report revealed longstanding patterns of abuse, civil-rights violations, and evidence of unjustified killings by Chicago police, officials on Thursday announced a retraining program, the Chicago Tribune reports.
Beginning in 2018, the city’s nearly 12,000 officers will be required to undergo 16 hours of training, including eight hours of in scenario-based instruction in the department’s revised use-of-force policy. A “vast majority” of officers will have to complete a four-hour course on that policy by Oct. 15 when the new policy will take effect.
The other eight hours will “focus on topics such as de-escalating tense encounters, dealing with people with mental health issues, training on counterterrorism measures and refreshers on state and federal laws,” the report says.
“The academy, and the department as a whole, is committed to making this happen,” Chicago Commander Daniel Godsel said, notes the report.
Training hours will then increase to 24 hours in 2019, 32 in 2020 and 40 in 2021 before leveling off at 40 starting in 2022, the Chicago Sun-Times reports. Cops will also have to take courses on procedural justice, police report writing, vehicle pursuits and firearms training, community policing and more relevant topics.
The announcement comes as the department looks to add nearly 1,000 officers to its force by the end of next year. Recruits will participate in months of training before they hit the streets, according to the Tribune.
The move comes after decades of complaints about police brutality, which was underscored by the death of Laquan McDonald, 17, who was fatally shot 16 times in October 2014 by former White officer Jason Van Dyke.
In January, the Department of Justice released a scathing report that found officers in the city frequently operated outside of the law, which prompted the retraining program. Officials did not release cost estimates for the retraining.