State Watch

Sheriffs say they won’t help cover potential mandate staffing shortages in Chicago

A Chicago crime scene
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Two suburban sheriffs said they would not send their deputies to Chicago to help with potential staffing shortages amid a feud between the mayor and a police union surrounding vaccine mandates.

Kane County Sheriff Ron Hain (D) told the Chicago Tribune he did not “feel like the onus is on us to go in there in an emergency situation that was created by poor government and a lack of support the officers receive.” 

Similarly, Kendall County Sheriff Dwight Baird (R) said he was not willing to put his officers at risk to respond to Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s (D) “self-induced emergency,” the Tribune reported.
DuPage County Sheriff James Mendrick (R), however, told the Tribune he would not withhold his deputies from helping in an emergency but questioned the logic of replacing unvaccinated Chicago officers with other potentially unvaccinated officers.
“It doesn’t make sense to say ‘I only want my residents touching vaccinated people, but I’m going to send all these potentially unvaccinated people from other municipalities to replace them,’” Mendrick said.

Their comments come after Illinois Law Enforcement Alarm System (ILEAS) members reportedly received notice on Monday that Chicago’s police force might need help in the event of an emergency situation prompted by opposition to the vaccine mandates.

Another message was sent on Tuesday to highlight that the additional officers would not be used to simply patrol the streets but only in the event of a serious emergency, the Tribune noted. 

Chicago required all city employees to submit proof of vaccination by Oct. 15 or submit to regular testing. Fraternal Order of Police President John Catanzara has openly discouraged officers from complying with the mandate and argued that it is a violation of their rights. 

Twenty-one Chicago police officers were placed on “no pay” status for refusing to comply with the mandate but only 67 percent of officers had submitted their vaccination status. 

During a press briefing Monday, Gov. J.B. Pritzker said the help of state police could be requested if needed. He added that National Guard personnel could also be available should a serious emergency arise, according to the Tribune.

The Hill has reached out to ILEAS, the Chicago Police Department and Lightfoot for comment. 

Tags Lori Lightfoot Police officers Vaccination vaccine mandate

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