OIG Finds That the Chicago Police Department Fails to Comply with Policies on Returning Members to the Field After Discharging Their Firearms

The City of Chicago Office of Inspector General (OIG) has completed an evaluation of the Chicago Police Department (CPD or the Department) returning its members to the field after discharging their firearms, which finds that CPD has not operated in full compliance with its relevant policies. 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, including the completion of a minimum of 30 days of administrative duty, participation in a Traumatic Incident Stress Management program, as well as attendance at various trainings. OIG found that members returned to regular field duty before they had satisfied program requirements that were designed to help process trauma associated with the discharge of a firearm.

OIG made several recommendations to address policy compliance issues, as well as inadequacies and inefficiencies in the administration of CPD’s program, including that most members spend more than the required 30 days on administrative duty after a firearm discharge. Specifically, OIG recommended that CPD,

  • develop and implement internal controls that ensure proper oversight of post-firearm discharge program requirements;
  • evaluate whether current post-firearm discharge training offerings fulfill their intended purpose and policy requirements;
  • track whether members have been involved in previous firearm discharge incidents to inform the necessary sections and programs; and
  • investigate why most members remain on administrative duty for longer than 30 days, which includes identifying measures to improve processes.

In response, CPD stated that, “The Department is committed to reviewing the entry of information documenting compliance with the post firearm discharge requirements,” and agreed with most of OIG’s suggestions. Specifically, CPD agreed to,

  • standardize compliance protocols;
  • develop a software solution to provide relevant notifications and track all information necessary to verify satisfaction of return-to-duty requirements; and
  • review portions of the relevant policies and evaluate its post-firearm discharge training to determine any changes that are necessary.

“The discharge of a CPD member’s firearm may have enormous consequences impacting members of the community, but also impacting the member themselves. CPD members who have discharged their firearm should not be returned to duty unless, and until, it is safe and appropriate for them to do so. The Department must have a robust process in place to manage that return––and it must comply with that process,” said Deputy Inspector General for Public Safety Deborah Witzburg. “CPD members who return to regular duty before satisfying program requirements that are designed to help them process associated trauma may be placed in circumstances that put both members of the Department and members of the public at risk.”

The full report can be found on OIG’s website: bit.ly/CPDPostFirearmDischarge.

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The mission of the independent and non-partisan City of Chicago Office of Inspector General (OIG) is to promote economy, effectiveness, efficiency, and integrity by identifying corruption, waste, and mismanagement in City government. OIG is a watchdog for the taxpayers of the City and has jurisdiction to conduct investigations and audits into most aspects of City government. If you see corruption, fraud, or waste of any kind, we need to hear from you. For more information, visit our website at: www.igchicago.org.