CHICAGO — Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot is enjoying a late summer vacation with her family in Maine. Normally that wouldn’t be newsworthy, except for the fact the mayor previously ordered police brass to cancel summer travel plans, and blasted the department’s No. 2 in command for failing to do so.
In June, Mayor Lightfoot called it “incredibly disappointing” when she learned Chicago Police First Deputy Supt. Anthony Riccio had failed to follow her directive to command staff to cancel travel plans and remain in Chicago to combat a surge in summer violence. “The exempts have to set the example. And the example of doing something the mayor has directed them not to do is highly problematic,” Lightfoot said in June.
Lightfoot’s weeklong vacation comes as violence — often fueled by warm weather and school vacations — continues to plague the city. This past weekend, three people were murdered and 22 people were injured in shootings. Before she left town, Lightfoot spoke about her desire for people to know she’s on the job and concerned about crime.
“People tell me all the time to ‘oh you’re so busy and you should take time off; [but] it’s really important for me to be visible,” the mayor said during a visit to a police strategic command center on August 15.
A mayoral spokesperson said Lightfoot remains in constant communication with police brass even while on vacation.
“While the mayor is away, she is in communication with CPD multiple times a day, including providing direction during today’s accountability meeting with CPD and is prepared to return to Chicago at a moment’s notice should she need to,” spokesperson Anel Ruiz said in a statement to WGN. “The mayor has made clear her expectations about the use of vacation time for the Chicago Police Department,” said spokesperson Anel Ruiz. “She also made it clear that ensuring the safety of all Chicagoans is her top priority.”