Bucking trend, Cook County Jail guard attendance unaffected by Super Bowl

SHARE Bucking trend, Cook County Jail guard attendance unaffected by Super Bowl

The Cook County Jail. | Santiago Covarrubias/Sun-Times

If the number of call-offs last Sunday are any indication, Cook County jail employees’ interest in the Super Bowl may be waning.

Over the course of three shifts Sunday, 199 jail guards called off work, according Cara Smith, chief policy adviser to Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart.

That’s less than half the number who called off work for the 2017 Super Bowl, Smith said.

“The numbers were even lower than an average Sunday,” Smith added.

Despite relatively strong attendance from employees Sunday, the jail saw 101 call-offs Monday morning, Smith said.

Major sporting events and family holidays have a history of coinciding with an influx of “sick” employees at the jail, though the number of call-offs on those days has declined in recent years.

On Mother’s Day 2016, 420 corrections officers caught a bug and couldn’t make it to work, prompting the jail to put a lockdown in place to make up for the lack of manpower. The next month, 520 were under the weather for Father’s Day.

Last year, though, just 200 called off for Mother’s Day.

In May 2015, nearly 640 correctional officers called in sick on the same day that boxers Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao faced off.

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