Becoming A Chicago Police Officer – Chicago police union fights vaccine mandate in court as some cops sent home without pay
Chicago police officers patrol downtown as the city celebrates the Chicago Sky’s WNBA title, Oct. 19, 2021, in Chicago. The city has begun placing police officers on unpaid leave because they refuse to comply with city requirements to report their vaccination status for COVID-19. Only 65 percent of the city’s police complied with the order.
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A battle with Chicago’s mayor and police superintendent and some officers who oppose a vaccine mandate for all city employees has ended in court, where the police union is asking a judge for a temporary restraining order.
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A court hearing on the union’s request for a temporary restraining order was postponed Wednesday, but that did little to ease tensions over the city’s push to have all police officers vaccinated.
Police Superintendent David Brown said compliance by his agency’s officers and civilian employees with the order to crack down on COVID-19 rose to 67 percent on Tuesday from 64 percent the previous day.
“I will say and do anything to save the officer’s life,” Brown said at a news conference Tuesday. “If there’s a need to go through a counseling session, go on unpaid status, go to internal affairs or a direct order, if that’s the case, I’m willing to do that.”
As of Tuesday, about 2,000 officers had yet to upload their vaccination or testing status to the city’s online portal, and so far 21 officers have been stripped of their police authority and sent home without pay, Brown said.
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Brown said “several hundred” officers were called to police headquarters this week and given a chance to review and hear the consequences of the refusal.
“I don’t know if we changed our minds or if they made the decision to enter the gate themselves,” Brown said.
City officials released an update on the vaccine mandate Monday, showing that 79 percent of all city employees have complied and entered their vaccine status in the online portal. According to officials, 84% are fully vaccinated.
The Fraternal Order of Police, the union that represents the officers, asked Cook County District Court Judge Cecilia Horan to issue a temporary restraining order against the order. A hearing on the matter is scheduled for Wednesday.
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The union, meanwhile, is asking Horan to recuse himself from the case after he granted the city a temporary restraining order Friday barring FOP President John Catanzara from publicly telling union members about the order violations.
“By doing this, and by predicting that 50% or more officers will violate their oath and fail to report for duty, Catanzara is encouraging illegal strikes and work stoppages that have the potential to undermine public safety and harm our residents, particularly .” During the current pandemic,” Lightfoot wrote in the lawsuit.
Following the decision, Katansara posted a video on the union’s YouTube channel informing members that he had been silenced.
“Everybody should do what’s in their heart and mind, whatever that is,” Katansara said in the video. “But I’ll just leave you with this: Politics starts at the top of this city, and it’s been proven time and time again that the top of this city’s politics needs to change.”
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Holding a sign with a so-called “thin blue line” flag that read “John Catanzara for Mayor 2023,” he said, “Enough is enough.”
With violent crime on the rise in Chicago and shootings expected to rise 9 percent in 2020, some city leaders said they fear Lightfoot and Brown are playing with fire by taking officers off the streets who aren’t enforcing his mandate. vaccine.
“We’re just not in a position to lay off 2,000 police officers right now,” Second Ward Councilman Brian Hopkins told ABC station WLS in Chicago. “We can’t do that. It’s not in our best interest.” This website stores data such as cookies to enable basic website functionality as well as marketing, personalization and analytics. By staying on this website, you indicate your consent. Cookies policy
Police recruits are inspected as they arrive for class at the police academy on March 29, 2018 in Chicago. (Zbigniew Bzdak/Chicago Tribune)
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Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s administration has consistently touted its intent to diversify the Chicago Police Department to add more than 1,000 officers and change the image of the force, which has been tarnished by controversial shootings of black men by white officers.
The city was successful in bringing in black candidates in the early stages of the hiring process. Thirty-eight percent of applicants were African-American when the department administered the police exam, according to a City Hall news release last October.
In fact, while the department made a net gain of 800 officers between October 2016 and the end of March 2018, the percentage of African-Americans declined very slightly, according to a Tribune analysis of department data.
African Americans – who have historically had a strained relationship with the police department – make up nearly a third of Chicago’s population but only a fifth of its police force.
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Department officials say a large percentage of African-Americans who apply for jobs in the department simply don’t take the entrance exams.
Meanwhile, black politicians argue that African-Americans who pass the test are often unfairly excluded from the hiring process because of debt restrictions, college credit requirements and psychological tests, among other factors.
The department’s failure to hire black police officers in proportion to the city’s population is a persistent problem that could become more difficult if African-Americans continue to leave the Chicago area, as they have in recent years, according to census data. Diversity is also front and center as the city prepares to enter into a court settlement aimed at forcing changes in a department with a history of mistreating minorities.
South side of Ald. Anthony Beale said the department should review background checks and revise its rule that recruits must have the equivalent of two years of college, among other measures.
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“I don’t care if 80 percent of African-Americans take the test,” he said. “You’re still going to have the same percentage (of hires).”
But Barbara West, head of the department’s Office of Organizational Development, said a major challenge to improving the department’s diversity remains getting African-American applicants to secure and pass the exam. When the department last administered the test in December, 44 percent of black applicants did not show up, he said.
Although African-Americans are underrepresented on the force, the Emanuel administration has often touted diversity in the department’s top ranks. Indeed, as of March, half of the 24 highest-ranking officers — including Superintendent Eddie Johnson — were black.
The Tribune’s demographic calculations are based on about 95 percent of the force because the department does not maintain identifying information for officers who serve in units that do undercover work. But past records show that these units largely reflected the racial breakdown of the rest of the force.
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Trooper Chrisdell Harris, 31, center, talks with Cameron Judge-Baker, left, during a short break from classes at the police academy on March 29, 2018, in Chicago. (Zbigniew Bzdak/Chicago Tribune)
Emanuel announced the department’s expansion in September 2016 as he tackled several pressing political issues — the fallout from the fatal shooting of Laquan McDonald and video of runaway street violence.
The release of a court-ordered video in late 2015 showing white officer Jason Van Dyke shooting a black teenager 16 times led to calls for Emanuel’s resignation and an outpouring of complaints against the police department, particularly from African-Americans. The US Justice Department investigation finally reiterated what black Chicagoans have been saying for decades — that the department allowed “racial discrimination” and used disproportionate violence against minorities.
Meanwhile, gun violence soared in 2016, with nearly 4,300 people shot and more than 760 killed, making it the deadliest year in nearly two decades. Some, including Emanuel, blamed the rise in crime in part on police officers scaling back their activities to avoid any incidents that could spark public anger.
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The mayor’s hiring reversed a trend of department downsizing that had followed him. The department lost about 600 officers between 2011 and October 2016.
Department records obtained through the Freedom of Information Act suggest that as of March, the force was unable to fire Emanuel’s target of 13,535 officers by the end of the year. The rapid hiring was offset by departures, leaving the department with about 12,770 officers at the end of March, a net gain of about 780 from October 2016, just before the hiring process began, according to agency records. At that rate, the department would be about 375 officers short of its goal by the end of the year.
However, department officials said the latest list provided to the Tribune happened
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