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After Protests, Chicago's Mayor Announces Changes To Policing

The city garnered national attention throughout 2015 for several highly-publicized cases of police-involved shootings.

Protests over police brutality in Chicago reached a boiling point earlier this week as activists and community members called for the city's mayor, Rahm Emanuel, to step down. But in a press conference on Wednesday (Dec. 30) Emanuel, who returned home early from a vacation in Cuba, announced several changes to Chicago's police department policies, CNN reports.

"There's a difference between whether someone can use a gun and when they should use a gun and we as a city must train for that difference," Emanuel said, explaining why the department will double the number of Tasers made available to officers to 1,400.

However, the Chicago Tribune reports that while the mayor believes increasing the number of Tasers will ensure "force can be the last option, not the first choice," this isn't the first time the city has increased their Taser numbers:

Chicago has expanded Taser use before — in 2010 — and the city's own numbers indicate shootings by police did not drop in the following years, even though police used the Tasers vastly more often.

Emanuel also said that the department will increase the number of desk duty days for officers involved in a shooting, from three to 30 days.

Interim police superintendent John Escalante also said that the department will provide training that "emphasize[s] mitigation or de-escalation techniques."

"Our goal is to change the way officers think when they approach an incident," he said.

Activists, who just this morning were still calling for Emanuel's resignation, remain skeptical of these plans.

Chicago's police department garnered national attention throughout 2015 for several highly-publicized cases of police-involved shootings including 19-year-old Quintonio LeGrier; 55-year-old Bettie Jones and the 2014 case of 19-year-old Laquan McDonald.