“TO BE READ AT ALL ROLL CALLS FOR SEVEN (7) CONSECUTIVE DAYS. This AMC message informs Department members of consequences of disobeying a direct order to comply with the City of Chicago’s Vaccination POlice issued 8 October 2021 and being the subject of the resulting disciplinary investigation. A Department member, civilian or sworn, who disobeys a direct order by a supervisor to comply with the City of Chicago’s Vaccination Police issued 8 October 2021 will become the subject of a disciplinary investigation that could result in a penalty up to and including separation from the Chicago Police Department. Furthermore, sworn members who retire while under disciplinary investigations may be denied retirement credentials. Any questions concerning this AMC message may be directed to the Legal Affairs Division via e-mail,” the memo said.
This comes as for the second time in a week, the Fraternal Order of Police convened a member meeting at its West Loop headquarters as the Friday deadline for all city workers to comply with Chicago’s vaccine mandate requirements has come and gone, and a day after CPD issued an initial memo effectively limiting officers’ ability to take time off until further notice.
The move is meant to shore up manpower in preparation for the city to potentially take large numbers of officers off the streets for defying the mandate starting this week.
The latest memo, which was issued at 8:16 p.m. Sunday as the FOP was adjourning, is a significant escalation in the standoff that has been going on between City Hall and the Fraternal Order of Police over the last week.
FOP posted a response on social media shortly after the Sunday memo.
“Still think this is about COVID or public health?? This mayor is a complete and utter joke. She is the epitome of hypocrisy. This is plan and simple union busting. The other city unions better wake up. Today it’s us under attack. Tomorrow it will be you if you challenge this tyrant. We will not relent,” the post said.
St. Sabina’s Michael Pfleger expressed his concern Sunday about what that might mean for the city.
“Communities that already feel abandoned and communities that live in fear should not wonder what next is going to happen in their neighborhood,” he said.
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While no officers were taken off the streets this weekend and the standoff has now reached the courts with both sides suing each other, Pfleger offered himself and other faith leaders as arbiters.
“I personally believe in the vaccine but I’m also asking for the sake of our city that the mayor and the FOP president come together and invite faith leaders — faith leaders of their own choosing — to come in and negotiate and work this out, and come out of the room unified,” Pfleger said.
The prospects of a compromise seems distant, however, Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s threat to place those in defiance of the order in a no-pay status remains in place, as does the FOP president’s previous statements regarding just how many officers might choose to simply walk away.
“This notion that individual; officers get to be insubordinate as they choose, as they pick and choose, we’re not having that,” the mayor said last week.
“Roughly 38% of the sworn officers on this job, almost 40% can lock in a pension and walk away today,” Fraternal Order of Police President John Catanzara, Jr. said.
City Hall has declined to further comment on the standoff this weekend. Mayor Lightfoot, however, said Friday that they will release CPD’s compliance numbers Monday.
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