CHICAGO — Twenty-one Chicago cops were stripped of their police powers Monday over their refusal to disclose their vaccination status to the city.
Most of those officers were assigned to CPD headquarters in Bronzeville, according to John Catanzara, president of the Fraternal Order of Police, the union that represents rank-and-file officers.
At a press conference at CPD headquarters Tuesday, Supt. David Brown said 67% of the department’s employees — both civilians and sworn officers — had disclosed their vaccination status to the city, a slight uptick from the figures released by the city a day earlier. Of those, Brown added, 82% said they were vaccinated.
Brown said the discussions between department leadership and non-compliant officers have been “very emotional” and “very difficult,” though necessary.
“I will say and do anything to save an officer’s life,” Brown said, noting that four CPD officers died of COVID-19 in 2020.
Brown largely blamed misinformation for some officers’ hesitancy to share their vaccination status with the city.
“Even though we’ve tried to inform our employees of the vaccine mandate, many are misinformed through various sources,” Brown said. “An officer should be able to rely on some of their union leadership for accurate information and many have been misinformed.”
City employees had until Oct. 15 to disclose their vaccination status. Mayor Lori Lightfoot said Monday that more than a third of all CPD officers failed to do so. Catanzara had strongly discouraged union members from submitting their vaccination status, and last week a judge barred him from speaking publicly about the city mandate.
Sources said that more than 40 officers were initially stripped of their police powers on Monday, but more than half of them eventually complied with the vaccine reporting mandate, and their police powers were immediately restored. The 21 officers who were stripped were placed on no-pay status and ordered to turn in their badge, shield and police ID. A complaint was also lodged against each non-compliant officer.
It’s unclear how long it will take the city to address each non-compliant employee, and a police source said the department will likely continue to confront non-compliant officers through the rest of the week, if not longer.
According to a city data portal, as of Monday, 64.42% (8,224 out of 12,770) of Chicago police employees, sworn officers and civilians, reported their vaccination status. Of those, 6,894 responded that they are vaccinated and 1,333 responded that they are not.
The police union and the city will be back in court on Tuesday.