CHICAGO — According to Fraternal Order of Police President John Catanzara, migrants staying in police stations are reaching intolerable levels, causing health problems for desk officers and sergeants at district stations all across Chicago.
“This is absolutely unacceptable and ridiculous working conditions,” Catanzara said, as he recorded a video showing the migrant conditions at the CPD’s 12th District police station.
“I was told there were calls made to the fire department out of the 12th district,” Catanzara said. “And they refused to send anybody.”
Another video from Catanzara showed overflowing garbage and migrant overcrowding at the CPD’s Third District police station.
“I’ve had desk sergeant after desk sergeant tell me they’ve never had more desk personnel off on medical leave or sick time,” Catanzara told WGN’s Ben Bradley.
According to Chicago’s Office of Emergency Management and Communications (OEMC), there are at least 8,537 migrants being housed at City facilities around Chicago — including 6,659 at City shelters, 1,496 at CPD police stations, and another 382 at O’Hare International Airport.
Ald. Raymond Lopez (15th) responded to the crisis on social media Tuesday morning.
“Chicago will hit 2,000 migrants in police stations before week’s end,” Lopez said. “Weather is getting cooler because winter is on its way. What’s the plan?”
Catanzara claimed that Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) Inspectors rejected his claims that police are working in an unsafe environment.
“OSHA doesn’t want to do anything about it,” Catanzara said in another video. “The mayor doesn’t want to do anything about it.”
Meanwhile, the clock continues to tick, as Catanzara said he is becoming increasingly concerned as cold weather approaches, when migrants will have no recourse but to stay inside.
“It hasn’t been easy to be here,” one migrant father told WGN’s Julian Crews. “Because we’re all on top of each other.”
WGN has reached out to OSHA, the Chicago Fire Department, the Mayor’s Office and City inspectors for comment on this story. Multiple phone calls and emails have not been returned.