CHICAGO (CBS) — The Chicago Police Department late Monday was still tabulating how many officers have been stripped of their police powers because they did not report their COVID-19 vaccination status to the city.
As CBS 2 Political Investigator Dana Kozlov reported, non-compliant officers were lining up all day outside Chicago Public Safety Headquarters at 3510 S. Michigan Ave. after they were summoned to the building Now, both John Catanzara – president of the Chicago Fraternal of Police Lodge 7 – and Mayor Lori Lightfoot said the officers are being given two chances to comply with the rule.READ MORE: New Illinois Laws To Protect Sex Crime Victims' Privacy Take Effect Jan. 1
If they refuse both, that is when they are stripped of their police powers – again raising concerns about what that could mean for public safety and whether there will be enough officers to police the streets.
The process went on all day at Chicago Police Headquarters. Officers who have not reported their COVID vaccination status to the city as required were asked to comply. Those who still refused were sent to another room for one last chance.
“If you refuse to comply with the portal, they are immediately stripping you of your police powers, taking your star, taking your ID,” Catanzara said.
Those who refused twice were also given a form officially notifying them that their police powers had been stripped.
“My understanding is a very small number – even after given those opportunities – are not doing it,” Mayor Lightfoot said.
According to the Mayor’s office, just over 64 percent of CPD employees reported their vaccination status by the midnight Friday night deadline – the lowest percentage of all city departments. That means 4,543 CPD employees have yet to comply with the mandate.
But it was still unclear late Monday bow many of those employees are officers who may be soon be off the street, rather than civilian employees. And it comes less than a week after Catanzara told officers to refuse to company, before a Cook County judge ordered him to stop, at least until the next hearing on the city’s lawsuit against the FOP.
Catanzara had warned that as much as half of the city’s police force was willing to defy the mandate, and force supervisors to send them home without pay.
Monday morning, Catanzara estimated more than 3,200 members of the FOP, which represents rank-and-file officers, were still refusing to comply with the city’s vaccine reporting mandate.
The Lightfoot administration is accusing the police union of supporting a “work stoppage or strike regarding the vaccine mandate.” Both state law and the FOP contract with the city prohibit officers from going on strike.READ MORE: Chicago Weather: Cloudy Overnight With Snow Flurries For Some
However, Catanzara has repeatedly said he’s not calling for a strike or other work stoppage.
Kozlov asked Mayor Lightfoot what concerns she had about how officers being stripped of their powers might impact public safety. She deflected.
“I don’t engage in a lot of hypotheticals,” Mayor Lightfoot said. “Obviously, we have contingency plans.”
But stripping officers of police powers could only exacerbate what some say is a critical police shortage in the city – something we reported earlier this month.
“People don’t want to be the police. The police don’t want to be the police,” Ald. Anthony Beale (9th) said on Oct. 8.
But union president Catanzara is not backing down.
“The last thing I’m going to say is hold the line if you can hold the line,” he said in a YouTube video.
The union said this is really about the city’s failure to negotiate the issue. The mayor said that is not true.
The dispute is now in court.MORE NEWS: View Live Radar
The mayor added that all non-compliant city employees will be disciplined.