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Police to Use Verbal Skills, Tasers

By Nick Gale, WLS News

(CHICAGO) Mayor Rahm Emanuel Wednesday afternoon announced changes in police training, including a requirement that every officer responding to service calls be equipped with a Taser.

Speaking from City Hall, Emanuel said the overhaul includes changing how officers respond to incidents and their use of force.

Interim Police Superintendent John Escalante says they looked at 15 other police departments across the country to come up with best practices.

“Our goal is to change the way officers think when they approach a critical incident by establishing time and distance to allow for more prudent thinking and physical space to promote a safer environment,” Escalante said.

He says communication and verbal skills along with talking to the individual’s involved will be part of that training. The department will also put more emphasis on calling in additional personnel who have such negotiation skills.

Under Emanuel’s plan, the taser requirement would see officers equipped and trained by June 1, 2016.

The Chicago Police Department has been under scrutiny since a police dashcam video was released last month showing Officer Jason Van Dyke shooting Laquan McDonald. The 17-year-old was shot 16 times. The release of that video has prompted protests across the city.


@ 2015 WLS News