Unvaccinated Chicago Police Officers’ Jobs, Retirement Benefits Threatened

Unvaccinated Chicago Police Officers’ Jobs, Retirement Benefits Threatened

is on track to have more murders this year than since 1996. A quarter-century ago, the crack cocaine epidemic caused the U.S. murder rate to skyrocket. A generation later, fewer police officers, social justice priorities funded by liberal billionaires and the ongoing fallout from last year’s riots have created a perfect storm.

The crime wave hasn’t spared the Windy City. In fact, things may get far worse before they get better.

Amid Chicago’s rising violence, an estimated 3,200 police officers (one-third of the force) are defying the department’s vaccine mandate. Officers had to report their vaccine status by last Friday or undergo twice-weekly COVID-19 testing. Now, they could lose their jobs. Those who retire may lose their retirement benefits.

A Vaccine Standoff

Yet Mayor (D) continues to demand their compliance. As a sign of her determination, city hall took Chicago’s police union’s boss to court. The city sought injunctive relief against Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) President John Catanzara.

Judge Cecilia Horan granted the request, prohibiting Catanzara from publicly telling FOP members not to comply. The ruling stands at least until the city’s next hearing on Oct. 25. Catanzara’s attorney revealed in the proceedings that he’s fully vaccinated but opposes the mandate as a matter of principle. As union president, he feels that it is his role to protect his officers’ interests and share their concerns.

Catanzara has said that if Lightfoot prevails in enforcing the mandate, “the city of Chicago will have a police force at 50% or less.”

James Fotis, president of the National Center for Police Defense, echoed similar concerns:

Obviously, the murder rate hasn’t gone down with over 10,000 police officers working in Chicago. Four people were killed and 20 shot last weekend alone. Knock the police department down by 50% and over the next few weeks those numbers will quadruple. Wake up Mayor Lightfoot, your city is already dying! Why do you want to completely kill it by divisively destroying your police force?

SEE ALSO: Hundreds of Thousands of U.S. Troops Remain Unvaccinated Ahead of Pentagon’s Compliance Deadline

Meanwhile, the city has sent officers two memos since last Friday. The first stressed that all officers who continue to defy the vaccine mandate would face disciplinary investigations. Moreover, officers who retire while under investigation could lose their retirement benefits.

Last Chance to Comply?

But that’s not all, as CBS Chicago reports:

Officers who are still refusing to report their vaccination status will be called in by supervisors on Monday, and once again will be asked to comply with the mandate.

“If they refuse, it sounds like they’re going to go into a no pay status, effective immediately,” Catanzara said.

As the vaccine battle continues, some of Chicago’s suburbs aren’t answering Lightfoot’s call to supply officers should there be a police shortage. Kane County Sheriff Ron Hain, a Democrat, blamed Chicago’s politics when declining the offer. (RELATED: Illinois Democrats Appear to Have Ended Adam Kinzinger’s Career)

Hain added that he wouldn’t send a single officer into the city limits “unless an officer is under direct duress, because I cannot support this slanted agenda. I also will not allow my deputies to be subjected to use force in the city and be under the prosecutorial jurisdiction of the Cook County State’s Attorney.”

The Police v.

Since her election four years ago, local law enforcement has had an abysmal relationship with State’s Attorney Kim Foxx. Foxx became the first prosecutorial candidate backed by George Soros to win their campaign in his behind-the-scenes push to put social justice ahead of fighting crime.

SEE ALSO: Soros Donates $1 Million to Oppose Police Ballot Measure

While Foxx argues that her office only dismisses cases against low-level, nonviolent offenders to focus on violent crime, the Chicago Tribune found otherwise. According to their report, the state’s attorney’s office dropped cases against “people accused of murder, shooting another person, sex crimes and attacks on police officers—as well as serious drug offenses that for decades have driven much of Chicago’s street violence.” Even Mayor Lightfoot has condemned Foxx for failing to charge suspects in high-profile shootings.

Besides the get-out-of-jail-free cards, Foxx has relatively little to show for her office’s alleged focus on more serious offenses. So far, her prosecutors have only won 66% of their felony cases. Her predecessor’s team won 75% of theirs.

Prosecutors like Foxx have left police officers feeling under attack. That sentiment is one reason why cities as different as Albuquerque, Des Moines, Indianapolis, Memphis, Milwaukee and Syracuse witnessed a recorded number of homicides in 2020. (RELATED: Violent Crime Spike Linked to Defund Police Movement)

A Failed Safety Plan

All the while, the Lightfoot administration’s repeated clashing with the undermines her anti-violence plan. Gun violence is down in only three of the city’s 15 most violent neighborhoods. Fatal shootings in some precincts are up as much as 566% from 2019.

Yet the Chicago Sun-Times reported that city hall hadn’t devoted extra resources to neighborhoods with the highest risk of violence.

Worse, the city’s depleted police department worries the mandate will worsen an already challenging staffing situation.

Officials in a bordering state have a different view, as The Indianapolis Star reports:

Braun, in a statement to Fox News, called Chicago’s vaccine mandate a “government overreach” and encouraged any of Chicago’s thousands of officers defying the mandate to head to Indiana.

“Our police do one of the hardest jobs in the world and they deserve respect—not heavy-handed mandates that will force them out of a job if they won’t disclose their private medical information,” Braun told IndyStar in a prepared statement.

Munster, Indiana Police Chief Steve Scheckel also told Fox News that he noticed an increase in lateral transfers from Chicago police to neighboring Lake County, Indiana.

That’s a relief for some officers. Unfortunately, it doesn’t alleviate Chicagoans’ fears about their shrinking police department and rising crime.

The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the positions of American Liberty News.

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