Chicago Police Superintendent Courageously Rolls Back His Use Of Force Policy

Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson’s decision to roll back his proposed changes to the use of force policy is exactly the common sense approach that law enforcement needs those in leadership positions to do for our profession.

In October we reported on Johnson’s proposal that included language more restrictive than the U.S. Supreme Court which we felt did not give any leeway to officers facing tense and stressful situations.

The old draft policy mandated that officers must use only the least amount of force needed in any situation despite the Supreme Court dictating that force must be “objectively reasonable.”  On the surface, using the “least amount of force needed” makes sense until every reporter and activist analyzes the use of force with their pause and rewind button.  The exact thing that the court warns us not to do in judging the actions of officers.

Thankfully, the language has been revised to reflect what the court says….”force must be objectively reasonable.”

The old requirement that police use force “only when no alternative appears to exist” has been taken out as well.

The mandate to “de-escalate” has also been softened in the new draft policy saying that it should only be done “when it is safe and feasible.”

The changes come after a Chicago officer almost died when she failed to use appropriate force because she feared public scrutiny and after Chicago cops were assaulted at a record rate in 2016.  Proactive stops by Chicago Police were down as much as 90% last year with a record homicide rate.

I’m not sure what prompted these positive changes but they are sure to bring the critique from those that know absolutely nothing about the profession.

The Courageous Leadership Seminar describes what a courageous leader looks like in several areas with policy being one of them.  I applaud Johnson for making this move because there is immense pressure on our leaders to cave into political correctness when it places the safety of the officers and the public at risk and there is no question that both of those issues currently exist in Chicago.

What Superintendent Eddie Johnson did was courageous as a leader because the uninformed will bruise his reputation but after the chatter subsides, all he did was comply with the United Supreme Court, which seems to be a good and valid thing to do…..unless you are trying to run a police department.

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Travis Yates is a writer and editor at Law Officer. An ILEETA Trainer of the Year, his Seminars in Risk Management & Officer Safety have been taught across the United States & Canada. Major Yates is a current Doctoral Student in Strategic Leadership and is a graduate of the FBI National Academy. He is the Director of Training for Law Officer  ( and the Founder of the Courageous Leadership Institute (, providing leadership consulting and training to law enforcement around the world.




  1. Katrina

    This is fantastic. The next thing they should do is stop paying out settlements to frivolous lawsuits. Fight them and let the shyster lawyers who bring them walk away empty handed and their clients pay court costs a few times and fewer will be filed. Expose and get rid of the corrupt city government. The city taxpayers will save millions of dollars and be safer with a stronger police force. Chicago has some great shopping and museums, but it isn’t worth going into town the way it is today.

  2. ahaz

    There was nothing courageous about it at all. The CPD sensed political blood in the water and took full advantage. Under the new Trump administration, there will likely not be a consent decree after the scathing DOJ report under the Obama administration. That is unfortunate for the citizens of Chicago who have shelled out over 200 million in civil judgments due to police misconduct over the past 4 years, with more judgments on the way. The civilian leadership at city hall is a joke, along the the new oversight committee that Emanuel created. That whole police department needs to be disbanded and rebuilt from scratch, they are the biggest gang running amok in Chicago.

  3. Peter Mcleod

    There has to be some force applied to suit the situation. Some of the people that the police are dealing with are so far out of there that they do not know what they are doing them selves. They could quite easily kill some one, police person or member of the public and not even know. They have to be taken down at the time. For every ones safety, including their own. The public needs to move away from the Obama goody goody policy and get real.

  4. Mike Klarman

    Good job Chief Johnson!!

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