State Watch

Days off for Chicago police curtailed amid vaccine mandate showdown

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The Chicago Police Department is restricting time off amid a deepening rift over the city’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate. 

Supervisor briefings before each shift for the next five days will begin with an announcement that personal time off will be limited for officers, the Chicago Tribune reported. 

“Until further notice, the use of elective time by sworn CPD members is restricted,” the announcement says, First Deputy Superintendent Eric Carter told the newspaper.

Any personal time off for officers will have to be approved by someone ranking deputy chief or higher, the Tribune reported.

This move follows opposing lawsuits from the Chicago Fraternal Order of Police and Mayor Lori Lightfoot over requirements that city workers, including police officers, get vaccinated or submit to testing at their own expense.

Union President John Catanzara has openly and repeatedly told thousands of his members to disobey the mandate. Meanwhile, the city’s pending lawsuit claims Catanzara’s strike against the mandate is illegal.

On Friday night, a Cook County judge ordered that he stop publicly calling for officers to defy the order. Around the same time, the Chicago Fraternal Order of Police tweeted a clip of Catanzara on Fox News saying that “the vaccine mandate policy doesn’t make any sense.” 

Catanzara claimed that about 50 percent of Chicago’s police officers would not be at work, as they were willing to follow his direction and potentially go on no-pay status over the mandate, the Tribune reported. 

The department’s decision to restrict the ability to take personal time typically comes ahead of potentially violent holiday weekends. The number of officers who have submitted their vaccine paperwork remains unreported at this time, per the Tribune. 

The Chicago Police Department referred questions from The Hill to the mayor’s office and the Department of Public Health.

The Hill has reached out to Lightfoot’s office and the Fraternal Order of Police for more information. 

Tags Lori Lightfoot

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