What Does the Flunk-Out Rate Say About Our Police Force?
How well are local police officers trained to deal with the life-and-death situations they encounter while enforcing the law? The low flunk-out rate at the Chicago Police Academy may indicate that the training and selection process of new officers is just not good enough.
Between July 2012 and April 2016, 97 percent of some 2,000 prospective officers who entered the academy graduated, and only three percent failed or dropped out. Two of Illinois’ five other police academies reported similar graduation rates — College of DuPage’s Suburban Law Enforcement Academy and the Southwestern Illinois Police Academy in Belleville had graduation rates between 97 and 98 percent. Compare this to the national average graduation rate of 86 percent.
While the graduation rate is high at the Academy, it has been criticized by the Justice Department for producing cops who are dangerously unprepared. And since the police force is already plagued by charges of misconduct and excessive force, the question of whether police are adequately trained and are following proper procedures in making arrests rises in importance.
If you are arrested and accused of a crime in Illinois, it is important to consider whether or not the police properly handled your situation. Your life and your future are on the line, so you need all the help you can get.
The experienced and seasoned Illinois criminal law attorneys at Wolfe & Stec, Ltd., understand the seriousness of your situation and offer aggressive representation for clients facing criminal charges and dealing with the police. We know the courts and the criminal justice system and how to plea bargain, and negotiate guidelines; we also recognize when to take your case to trial. We offer a free consultation to examine your individual situation and determine the course most likely to protect your rights and liberties.
Problems in the Chicago Area
The Chicago area is plagued with crime and shootings. Last year, there were more than 760 killings and 4,300 people shot, and this violence has continued so far in 2017.
As a result, adding police staff has become a major goal. Mayor Rahm Emanuel has stated the goal of adding 1,000 new officers over the next two years to the Chicago police force. In addition, the political climate has gotten tougher since President Donald Trump was elected with a law-and-order platform. This has caused Emanuel to become increasingly pro-police, and Superintendent Eddie Johnson has backed off instituting a more restrictive policy relating to use of force.
But this pressure to produce more police officers does not result in better training, and when police are not adequately trained, there is an increase in complaints such as excessive force and wrongful arrests. According to a report by the Better Government Association in the Sun-Times:
- Chicago taxpayers paid nearly $650 millionin the past 12 years to litigate and settle excessive force cases,
- In the past five years, Chicago police fatally shot 70 civilians, more than in any other big city.
- Fewer Chicago cops are held accountable for shootings and other alleged misconduct than in other urban areas.
Emanuel is seeking to expand the force to some 13,500 officers by the end of 2018. When retirements and departures are considered, this means more than 2,000 new officers may have to be hired and trained through a system that the Justice Department calls outdated and undemanding. Their report noted that many rookie cops didn’t understand even basic principles important to their work on the street, such as when use of force would be justified. Considering that police officers have the power to take a person’s life and their freedom, it’s time to focus on improving standards of training.
What If I Have Problems With Police?
Even if trained properly, police are human and may make mistakes. If you have had encounters with police officers and feel you have been unjustly treated or wrongly accused of a crime in Illinois, you have specific rights.
Anyone who is accused of a crime is presumed to be innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in court. You have a right to a jury trial, but you may waive this right and have a trial before a judge. You have the right to be represented by an attorney to represent your interests; and if you cannot afford one, you have the right to have an appointed public defender if your crime is a felony.
And if you have been wrongfully arrested or been a victim of police brutality, you may even be able to file a lawsuit against the arresting officer, the police department, and the township for damages that may include:
- mental distress and embarrassment
- physical harm or illness incurred during or as a result of the wrongful arrest
- even for wages lost during a period of incarceration.
Put Your Trust In Us — Contact Wolfe & Stec, Ltd. for a Free Consultation.
If you or a loved one has had problems with the police or is accused of a crime in Illinois, you need to hire the best criminal defense attorney that you can find. The Illinois criminal defense lawyers at Wolfe & Stec, Ltd. are skilled trial lawyers who believe each case is unique, with its own set of circumstances. We examine the facts, the individuals involved, and the evidence available, and work hand in hand with our clients throughout the criminal process to come up with an effective defense strategy. Our goal is always to minimize the negative impact of the situation and to focus on protecting your freedoms, liberties and rights.
We are aggressive litigators and will work with you to answer all your questions and make sure you fully understand the facts surrounding your case. We represent clients in DuPage County, Naperville, Aurora, Wheaton, Downers Grove and Bolingbrook, and the greater Chicagoland area.
Delaying can only make your situation worse, so call 630-305-0222 today to schedule your free initial consultation.