Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot: Police Should Not ‘Ruin Their Careers’ over Vaccine Reporting Rules

Chicago mayor Lori E. Lightfoot, left, speaks Thursday, Feb. 11, 2021, during a news conference at the William H. Brown Elementary School after a tour of the school. In-person learning for students in pre-k and cluster programs began Thursday, since the district's agreement with Chicago Teachers Union was reached. (AP …
AP Photo/Shafkat Anowar, Pool

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot (D) chided city police officers who are refusing to report their vaccination statuses, telling them not to “ruin their careers” by not complying with her rules, WBBM News Radio reported Tuesday.

“I really hope that the men and women of the Chicago Police Department, who have been fed a lot of stuff, that’s the most polite and appropriate word I can use, are not going to ruin their careers over going to a website and saying ‘yes’ or ‘no,'” Lightfoot said.

Under Lightfoot’s rules, officers must confirm their vaccination status or be subjected to unpaid leave by Friday. Unvaccinated officers can stay on the job if they undergo semiweekly testing.

According to Chicago Fraternal Order of Police president John Catanzara, approximately 3,200 officers are defying the city’s coronavirus vaccine reporting mandate.

“The unofficial number we have is about over 3,200; so about of third of the department,” Catanzara told CBS 2, calling the mandate illegal. The police union head told the news outlet that the rules should be null and void because city officials did not negotiate with the union.

The Associated Press

In this Friday, June 5, 2020 file photo Fraternal Order of Police President John Catanzara speaks to reporters outside the FOP lodge in Chicago. (Tyler LaRiviere/Sun Times via AP)

Lightfoot attempted to downplay the number of officers who have rejected her rules as “very small” and claimed non-compliance would not disrupt the city’s “ability to keep our neighborhoods safe,” WBBM reported. Previously, Lightfoot said NBC5 that Catanzara “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.”

“As Chicago’s Mayor, I cannot and will not stand idly by while the rhetoric of conspiracy theorists threatens the health and safety of Chicago’s residents and first responders,” she said in the statement. 

Chicago police and firefighters salute as the body of slain Chicago police officer Ella French is carried into the St. Rita of Cascia Shrine Chapel for a funeral service Thursday, Aug. 19, 2021, in Chicago. French was killed and her partner was seriously wounded during an Aug. 7 traffic stop on the city's South Side. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)

Chicago police and firefighters salute as the body of slain Chicago police officer Ella French is carried into the St. Rita of Cascia Shrine Chapel for a funeral service Thursday, Aug. 19, 2021, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)

During Lightfoot’s interview with WBBM, she further insisted her vaccine reporting rules involve a “very simple, non-burdensome, non-intrusive process.” However, Chicago Alderman Anthony Napolitano recently joined five other city lawmakers in asking Lightfoot to reverse course and called the rules “an infringement on our constitutional rights.” He also warned of an impending officer shortage if she does not back down, which would make the Chicago streets even more dangerous. 

President Joe Biden greets Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot at O'Hare International Airport in Chicago, Thursday, Oct. 7, 2021. While in the Chicago area, Biden will highlight his order to require large employers to mandate COVID-19 vaccines for its workers during a visit to a construction site. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

President Joe Biden greets Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot at O’Hare International Airport in Chicago, Thursday, Oct. 7, 2021. While in the Chicago area, Biden will highlight his order to require large employers to mandate COVID-19 vaccines for its workers during a visit to a construction site. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

“If you remove even more police from that equation, our streets are gonna be completely lost. … You’re gonna have cars not manned. There’s gonna be no officers in cars. … You’ll get in your car and you’ll have 20 or 30 jobs waiting for you,” Napolitano said last week. “Criminals know this stuff. They know what’s going on. You’re gonna see pure melee.”

According to a CNN report, Chicago is already on track to surpass last year’s number of shooting deaths. More than 1,600 people were shot June 2021 through August 2021, with 261 dying from their wounds — approximately 770 people were killed in Chicago throughout all of 2020. Chicago Alderman Brian Hopkins warned the network last week that Chicago’s police force is facing an officer shortage due to problems recruiting officers in “an anti-police environment, nationwide,” and that this comes in the midst of “a crime epidemic in Chicago.”

Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker (D) offered to activate the state’s National Guard in the event Lightfoot’s mandate creates an officer shortage, though he said he would first need cooperation from city leadership.

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