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Chicago says unvaccinated police risk losing jobs, retirement benefits
Chicago police officers could face repercussions, including losing retirement benefits, if they choose to not comply with the city’s vaccine mandate, according to a memo from the Chicago Police Department.
The memo states that anyone who chooses to disobey the city’s vaccination policy “will become the subject of a disciplinary investigation that could result in a penalty up to and including separation from the Chicago Police Department,” according to CNN.
“Furthermore, sworn members who retire while under disciplinary investigations may be denied retirement credentials,” it continues.
Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot (D) announced in August that all city employees, including police officers, would need to be vaccinated by Oct. 15.
Following that order, Chicago Fraternal Order of Police President John Catanzara called for his officers to defy the mandate.
“Do not fill out the portal information,” Catanzara said in a video posted on YouTube last week.
“I’ve made my status very clear as far as the vaccine, but I do not believe the city has the authority to mandate that to anybody — let alone that information about your medical history,” he said.
Since then, the city has sued Catanzara, with a judge ruling Friday that he could no longer publicly discourage people from complying with the mandate.
“President Catanzara has time and again deliberately misled our police officers by lying about the requirements of the policy and falsely claiming that there will be no repercussions if officers are insubordinate and refuse to follow a City and Department directive or order,” Lightfoot said at the time of the lawsuit.
The deadline for officers to get vaccinated was Friday, and up to half of Chicago’s rank-and-file police force could face disciplinary action once the city gathers information on how many officers complied with the mandate, according to CNN.
These actions are in addition to an announcement on Saturday that the police department’s supervisor briefings for the next five days will begin with an announcement that personal time off will be limited for officers. This type of action is usually reserved for times when violence is expected to be particularly high in the city, including holiday weekends.
The Hill has reached out to the Chicago Police Department, Lightfoot and the Fraternal Order of Police for comment.
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