Every police officer responding to a call now has access to a Taser, the Chicago Police Department said this week.
The department has spent the last few months training officers how to use the devices.
“The expansion of Tasers is part of CPD’s goal to create the safest environment possible for police officers and the citizens they serve,” according to a department statement.
In the wake of the 2014 fatal shooting of Laquan McDonald, the department’s use-of-force polices have been under a microscope.
Last December, Mayor Rahm Emanuel said the move to equip every officer with a Taser was a long time coming. “While recent events have brought this issue to the forefront for us all, for far too long Chicago — like cities around the country — has faced far too many incidents where officers shot and killed unarmed people,” Emanuel said at the time. “We need a new reality.”
Besides the new equipment, officers will also “ask themselves a series of key questions as an event unfolds” to determine the best course of action, according to Emanuel’s statement in December.
The department also is expanding its use of body cameras.
“Expanding the use of Tasers and body cameras was a commitment Mayor Emanuel made last December, and we are following through on this important expansion,” Supt. Eddie Johnson said in a statement. “Tasers and body cameras are extremely valuable tools not just to fight crime, but also in our ongoing effort to restore public trust and accountability.”