The Chicago Police Department's rule book is a 16 inch stack of sheets. Now, for the first time in 40 years the rule book will get a makeover from a team made up of officers and civilians. The goal is to reduce the rule book by two thirds in order to make the rules easier to understand and quicker to look up. This should be a great revamp for the Chicago police and the citizens of the city. A convoluted and overly complex rule book not only hinders the performance of officers, but it makes the rules difficult to interpret and understand for citizens. How will the CPD modernize the rule book? Find out after the jump.
Described as "a mess" in a Sun-Times article, the rule book is out of style, out of touch, and out of date. The rule revision team will modernize the sections of general rules that have tacked on to and modified over the years and remove unnecessary explanations such as one explaining daylight saving time.
One police sergeant lauded the project by saying "I use it as a teaching tool to help the officers understand the policies
regarding arrests and proper police procedure. I'll read it to them.
I'll print the order. And I will go over it with them." By modernizing the book, this would certainly make his job easier and more efficient, not to mention easing the steps it takes for an officer to understand and comprehend the rule book. The sergeant also suggested that the department enliven and invigorate the writing in the manual. He said, "You read these general orders and your eyes start bleeding." Frankly, I am not surprised. Most rule books are long, drawn out, and boring. Without having a terse book of rules, no organization can expect its employees, or clients in some cases, to understand the rules and regulations of the business or entity. Police departments, fire departments, even schools are no different.
One suggestion I have for the department is to post a version of these rules online for citizens to access. There would not have to be any information that could jeopardize police officers or police duties, but even a shortened, "Cliff Notes" version would suffice. This way, citizens could access the rule book and find out how the department operates or should operate. This creates a level of professionalism between cops and citizens. Citizens would know what to expect and cops that would consider breaking rules would be held in check. The department does plan to have the revised regulations online, but it appears only police officers would have access.
I have put in an email to the Chicago Police Department and hope to receive some feedback soon in regards to my suggestion about a citizen version of the rule book.