by P. J. McNeal, The Chicago Times
October 18, 2021
CHICAGO – Another example of Mayor Lightfoot’s vindictiveness was exposed today by her threat to deny earned retirement benefits to Chicago police officers that choose to retire rather than comply with Lightfoot’s COVID-19 vaccination policy.
According to a memo from Chicago Police Superintendent David O. Brown, officers who choose to retire rather than follow City Hall’s orders “. . . may be denied retirement credentials.”
A police department spokesperson declined to comment and directed further inquiries to the office of Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot, where the vindictive policy originated.
The Lightfoot administration mandated that city employees report their COVID-19 vaccination status by Oct 22 or face being placed on unpaid leave. On Thursday, Chicago police brass made it clear that officers who refuse to comply with the city’s mandate face disciplinary action or termination.
Officers will be expected to meet the deadline on Friday unless they have an approved medical or religious exemption, according to First Deputy Police Superintendent Eric Carter. Those who had not been vaccinated by Friday would be required to get tested twice a week on their own time and expense.
The Fraternal Order of Police has been opposed to the mandate. FOP President John Catanzara stated that if officers were turned away, CPD strength could be “at 50 percent or less for this weekend coming up.”
Catanzara directed officers to file for vaccine exemptions but not to enter that information into the city’s portal, telling the rank-and-file, “I do not believe the city has the authority to mandate that to anybody, let alone that information about your medical history.”
In anticipation of the negative response to the mandate, which could result in a reduction of frontline officers en masse, top CPD brass have cancelled all leaves and time off requests.