Evaluation of the Chicago Police Department’s Post-Firearm Discharge Policy

The City of Chicago Office of Inspector General (OIG) has completed an evaluation of the Chicago Police Department’s (CPD or the Department) compliance with its policy regarding post-incident requirements for members who discharge their firearms, on- or off-duty. Under General Order G03-02-03, CPD members are required to complete several steps before returning to regular field duties after a firearm discharge incident, specifically:

  • Completing a minimum of 30 days of administrative duty;
  • Participating in the Traumatic Incident Stress Management (TISM) program, which includes a trauma debriefing session;
  • Attending the Critical Incident Overview (CIO) training; and
  • Completing any other training curriculum developed by the Education and Training Division (ETD), including an individualized training curriculum.

OIG found that CPD has not operated in full compliance with this policy. OIG also determined that CPD’s internal controls are inadequate, as reflected in the Department’s insufficient policies and procedures, its inability to ensure the execution of those policies and procedures, and poor documentation of the return-to-duty process.

As a result, members who discharged their firearms have returned to regular field duty before they have satisfied return-to-duty requirements that were designed to help members process the trauma associated with discharging their firearms. Due to potential negative outcomes associated with trauma, such members may be placed in circumstances that put themselves and others at risk.

In addition, OIG determined that the return-to-duty process is inadequate and inefficient in the following ways:

  • The Individualized Critical Incident Overview (ICIO) training that ETD began offering in early 2019 is not tailored to members’ experiences; and
  • Nearly all members spend more than 30 days on administrative duty assignment, because of lagtimes in administration of key officer evaluation and support components of the return-to-duty process.

To achieve compliance with return-to-duty requirements, OIG recommends that CPD,

  • develop and implement internal controls that ensure proper oversight of the requirements, complete notification of relevant CPD members, and proper documentation and tracking, utilizing to the extent feasible a software solution automating the provision of relevant notifications and tracking all information necessary to verify completion of return-to-duty requirements.

To address the areas of inadequacy and inefficiency in its return-to-duty process, OIG recommends that CPD,

  • evaluate whether its current individualized training offerings fulfill their intended purpose and the requirements found in the General Order,
  • track whether members have been involved in previous firearm discharge incidents to inform the TISM program, CIO and ICIO trainings, and possible extension of administrative duty assignments beyond 30 days, and
  • investigate the reasons most members remain on administrative duty for longer than 30 days, and identify measures to improve the timeliness of its processes.

In response to our findings and recommendations, CPD either agreed or agreed in part to OIG’s various recommendations.