Chicago Police Union Files Labor Dispute over New Use of Force Policy

Chicago’s largest police union is fighting the implementation of a new policy governing police officers’ use of force on the job.

The Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 7, which represents thousands of rank-and-file police officers, filed a labor complaint against the city on Sept. 21 through the Illinois Labor Relations Board, arguing the new policy violates the union’s labor contract and was not jointly agreed upon.

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In its petition to the board, the FOP contends: “The [city] has a recent history and pattern of making unilateral changes to the parties’ collective bargaining agreement without satisfying its statutory obligation of bargaining with the [FOP].”

Chicago Police Board President Lori Lightfoot says the FOP was not left out of negotiations. She points to the fact that the general public was encouraged to weigh in on draft versions of the policy twice.

“It is therefore, extremely odd that the union would say in the face of this extensive and transparent process that it was not appropriately consulted,” Lightfoot said in an email to Chicago Tonight. “We will have to see the specifics of the complaint, but the timing and content of this belated challenge to the policy, coming after approximately two months of training, is very odd.

“It would be helpful for the FOP to be constructively engaged in finding solutions and not throwing up roadblocks,” Lightfoot added. “Change is happening and that is good for everyone involved.  The status quo has failed us all.”

The FOP’s contract with the city expired May 31. Both parties are currently negotiating the terms of a new contract, which will be subject to City Council approval.

New training protocols under the policy center on the “sanctity of human life.” Among the reforms, officers are prohibited from using deadly force on fleeing suspects who pose no immediate threat, and are forbidden to fire at subjects whose actions threaten only themselves, such as attempted suicide scenarios.

The reforms come after an investigation by the U.S. Justice Department that found patterns of excessive force and racial bias within the Police Department.

The first round of training will finish Oct. 15, according to a Chicago Police Department announcement Sept. 21 – the same day as the FOP’s filing.

Fraternal Order of Police President Kevin Graham joins Chicago Tonight to discuss his opposition to the Chicago Police Department’s new use of force policy.

Read the Chicago Police Department’s Use of Force Policy

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