Chicago Police DepartmentGeneral Order G03-02
Use of Force
Issue Date:16 October 2017Effective Date:16 October 2017
Rescinds:1 October 2002 Version
Index Category:Field Operations
This directive sets forth Department policy regarding sworn members’ and detention aides’ use of force.
II.Department Policy
  • A.Sanctity of Human Life. The Department’s highest priority is the sanctity of human life. In all aspects of their conduct, Department members will act with the foremost regard for the preservation of human life and the safety of all persons involved.
  • B.Public Cooperation. A strong partnership with the public is essential for effective law enforcement. Inappropriate or excessive uses of force damage that partnership and diminish the public trust that is a cornerstone of policing in a free society.
  • C.Core Principle. The Chicago Police Department seeks to gain the voluntary compliance of subjects, when consistent with personal safety, to eliminate the need to use force or reduce the force that is needed.
  • D.Assessing Uses of Force. The Chicago Police Department recognizes that Department members are often forced to make split-second decisions—in circumstances that are tense, uncertain, and rapidly evolving—about the amount of force that is necessary in a particular situation. These decisions must therefore be judged based on the totality of the circumstances known by the member at the time and from the perspective of a reasonable Department member on the scene, in the same or similar circumstances, and not with the benefit of 20/20 hindsight. Nothing in this policy requires members to take actions, or fail to take actions, that unreasonably endanger themselves or others.
    Nothing in this policy precludes the legally mandated oversight or assessment of a Department member's use of force consistent with the procedures established in this policy.
III.Use of Force - When Authorized
  • A.Definition of Force. Force is defined as any physical contact by a Department member, either directly or through the use of equipment, to compel a subject’s compliance.
  • B.Use of Force: Objectively Reasonable, Necessary, and Proportional. Department members may only use force that is objectively reasonable, necessary, and proportional in order to ensure the safety of a member or third person, stop an attack, make an arrest, control a subject, or prevent escape.
    • 1.Objectively reasonable. The main issue in evaluating every use of force is whether the amount of force used by the officer was objectively reasonable in light of the totality of the circumstances faced by the officer on the scene. Reasonableness is not capable of precise definition or mechanical application. Factors to be considered by the officer include but are not limited to:
      • a.whether the subject is posing an imminent threat to the officer or others.
      • b.the risk of harm, level of threat or resistance presented by the subject.
      • c.the subject’s proximity or access to weapons.
    • 2.Necessary. Department members will use only the amount of force required under the circumstances to serve a lawful purpose.
    • 3.Proportional. Department members will use only the force that is proportional to the threat, actions, and level of resistance offered by a subject. This may include using greater force or a different type of force than that used by the subject. The greater the threat and the more likely that the threat will result in death or serious physical injury, the greater the level of force that may be necessary to overcome it. When or if the subject offers less resistance, however, the member will decrease the amount or type of force accordingly.
    • 4.De-escalation. Members will use de-escalation techniques to prevent or reduce the need for force when it is safe and feasible to do so based on the totality of the circumstances. This includes continually assessing the situation and modifying the use of force as circumstances change and in ways that are consistent with officer safety. Examples of de-escalation techniques include but are not limited to:
      • a.exercising persuasion and advice, and providing a warning prior to the use of force.
      • b.determining whether the member may be able to stabilize the situation through the use of time, distance, or positioning to isolate and contain a subject.
      • c.requesting additional personnel to respond or make use of specialized units or equipment including crisis-intervention-team trained officers.
    • 5.Prohibitions.
      • a.The use of excessive force, unwarranted physical force, or unprofessional conduct by a Department member is prohibited and will not be tolerated.
      • b.Department members are prohibited from using force based on bias against a person’s race, ethnicity, nationality, religion, disability, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, or any other protected characteristic as outlined in the Department directive entitled "Prohibition Regarding Racial Profiling and Other Bias Based Policing."
      • c.Force used as punishment or retaliation is prohibited.
      • d.Force used in response to a person’s lawful exercise of First Amendment rights (e.g., protected speech, lawful demonstrations, and filming police activity) is prohibited.
        First Amendment rights are not absolute and are subject to reasonable time, place, manner restrictions. Further guidance may be found in the Department directive entitled "The First Amendment and Police Actions."
    • 6.Additional procedures. For further procedures on de-escalation, the principles of Force Mitigation, and when force is authorized, Department members will refer to the Department directive entitled “Force Options.
  • C.Use of Deadly Force: Necessary to Prevent Death or Great Bodily Harm. The following additional policies apply to the use of deadly force:
    • 1.Definition of Deadly Force. Deadly force is force by any means that is likely to cause death or great bodily harm. It includes but is not limited to:
      • a.firing of a firearm in the direction of the person to be arrested.
      • b.firing of a firearm at a vehicle in which the person to be arrested is riding.
      • c.intentional striking of a subject’s head with an impact weapon.
      • d.application of a chokehold, defined as applying direct pressure to a person’s trachea (windpipe) or airway (front of the neck) with the intention of reducing the intake of air.
    • 2.Definition of Imminent Threat. A threat is imminent when it is objectively reasonable to believe that:
      • a.the subject's actions are immediately likely to cause death or great bodily harm to the member or others unless action is taken; and
      • b.the subject has the means or instruments to cause death or great bodily harm; and
      • c.the subject has the opportunity and ability to cause death or great bodily harm.
    • 3.Last Resort. The use of deadly force is a last resort that is permissible only when necessary to protect against an imminent threat to life or to prevent great bodily harm to the member or another person. Consistent with this requirement, a sworn Department member may use deadly force only when such force is necessary to prevent:
      • a.death or great bodily harm from an imminent threat posed to the sworn member or to another person.
      • arrest from being defeated by resistance or escape, where the person to be arrested poses an imminent threat of death or great bodily harm to a sworn member or another person unless arrested without delay.
    • 4.Fleeing Persons. Deadly force may not be used on a fleeing person unless the subject poses an imminent threat, as defined above.
    • 5.Sworn members will, whenever possible, identify themselves as police officers prior to using deadly force, unless identification would jeopardize the safety of the member or others or compromise the integrity of an investigation.
    • 6.A sworn member is justified in using deadly force to stop a dangerous animal only when the animal reasonably appears to pose an imminent threat to the safety of the sworn member, another person, or another animal and no reasonably effective alternatives appear to exist.
  • D.Prohibitions on the use of firearms. The use of firearms in the following ways is prohibited:
    • 1.Firing warning shots.
    • 2.Firing at subjects whose actions are only a threat to themselves (e.g., attempted suicide).
    • 3.Firing solely in defense or protection of property.
    • 4.Firing into crowds. However, this prohibition does not preclude the use of deadly force directed at a specific person who is near or among other people, but the use of deadly force in such circumstances is only permitted in the limited circumstances when such force is reasonably necessary to prevent death or great bodily harm to the sworn member or to another person, and no reasonable alternative exists. In such circumstances, the use of deadly force is permissible only if the member has identified the appropriate target prior to discharging the firearm and has taken reasonable precautions to ensure that people other than the target will not be struck.
    • 5.Firing into buildings or through doors, windows, or other openings when the person lawfully fired at is not clearly visible, unless directed at a specific location and such force is reasonably necessary to prevent death or great bodily harm to the sworn member or to another person. In such circumstances, the use of deadly force is permissible only if the member has identified the appropriate target prior to discharging the firearm and has taken reasonable precautions to ensure that people other than the target will not be struck.
    • 6.Firing at or into a moving vehicle when the vehicle is the only force used against the sworn member or another person, unless such force is reasonably necessary to prevent death or great bodily harm to the sworn member or to another person.
      When a vehicle is the only force used against a member, the member will not place themselves in the path of the moving vehicle and will make every effort to move out of the path of the vehicle.
IV.Medical Attention
  • A.Once the scene is safe and as soon as practical, whenever an individual is injured, complains of injury, or requests medical attention, Department members:
    • 1.will immediately request appropriate medical aid for the injured person, including contacting emergency medical services (EMS) from the Chicago Fire Department via the Office of Emergency Management and Communications (OEMC).
    • 2.may provide appropriate medical care consistent with their training to any individual who has visible injuries, complains of being injured, or requests medical attention. This may include providing first aid and/or arranging for transportation to an emergency medical facility.
  • B.Members will treat injured persons, whether another officer, a member of the public, or a subject, with dignity and respect.
V.Duty to Intervene and Report
  • A.Ensure Compliance. All Department members are obligated to ensure compliance by themselves and other members with Department regulations, policies, and the law.
  • B.Intervention, Notifying Superiors, Supervisory Intervention. A Department member who directly observes a use of force that is excessive or otherwise in violation of this directive will contact a supervisor as soon as practicable. Except in extraordinary circumstances, the member will act to intervene on the subject's behalf. Such action will include, but is not limited to, verbally intervening to try to stop the violation. If the member is a supervisor, he or she will issue a direct order to stop the violation.
  • C.Written Reporting Obligation. Consistent with the Department directive entitled “Complaint and Disciplinary Procedures,” Department members who have knowledge of the use of force against a subject in violation of this directive will submit an individual written report to a supervisor before reporting off duty on the day the member becomes aware of the misconduct.
  • D.Retaliation Prohibited. The Department prohibits any form of retaliation against a Department member for:
    • 1.reporting a use of force that is allegedly in violation of this directive, or
    • 2.cooperating with any internal investigation of the complaint.
  • E.Accuracy and Candor. Department members will be responsible at all times:
    • 1.for truthfully and completely describing the facts and circumstances concerning any incident involving the use of force by Department members.
    • 2.for articulating the specific facts to explain the member’s own decision to employ a particular use of force.
VI.Department Member's Bill of Rights
Use of Force investigations remain bound by the involved members' respective collective bargaining agreement(s) and the Department directive entitled "Department Member's Bill of Rights."
Kevin B. Navarro
Acting Superintendent of Police
16-021 MWK
1.G03-02-01 - Force Options
2.G03-02-02 - Incidents Requiring the Completion of a Tactical Response Report
3.G03-02-03 - Firearms Discharge Incidents Involving Sworn Members
4.G03-02-04 - Taser Use Incidents
5.G03-02-05 - Oleoresin Capsicum (OC) Devices And Other Chemical Agent Use Incidents
6.G03-02-06 - Canine Use Incidents
7.G03-02-07 - Force Review Unit