CPD restricts time off for officers as union fights Lightfoot on COVID-19 vaccination reporting mandate

Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 7 president John Catanzara has said about half the city’s officers could defy the mandate, which went into effect Saturday.

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Chicago Police Supt. David Brown and First Deputy Supt. Eric Carter, pictured in July. Police officials are restricting time off for officers as the police union fights a city mandate for workers to report their COVID-19 vaccination status.

Chicago Police Supt. David Brown and First Deputy Supt. Eric Carter, pictured in July. Police officials are restricting time off for officers as the police union fights a city mandate for workers to report their COVID-19 vaccination status.

Anthony Vazquez/Sun-Times

Chicago police officials are clamping down on days off for officers as Mayor Lori Lightfoot wrangles in court with police union officials who are fighting her COVID-19 vaccination reporting mandate, department sources said.

A memo issued Saturday morning by First Deputy Supt. Eric Carter said “[u]ntil further notice, the use of elective time by sworn CPD members is restricted.”

That directive will be read to officers at their daily pre-shift briefings for the next five days. Officers will need approval from someone with the rank of deputy chief or higher to get time off.

The move to shore up manpower – typically reserved for historically violent weekends such as the Fourth of July holiday – comes as Lightfoot and Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 7 president John Catanzara square off with lawsuits over the vaccination reporting mandate, which went into effect Saturday.

Lightfoot’s office filed for a temporary restraining order against the FOP after Catanzara repeatedly encouraged his members to defy the city’s mandate to enter their coronavirus vaccination status on a city data portal. Lightfoot has ordered all city workers to get vaccinated or submit to regular testing, or else face potential no-pay status.

Catanzara has suggested about half the police force could defy the mandate – which Lightfoot has contended would amount to an illegal strike. Neither side has said how many officers have already submitted information to the city.

A Cook County judge on Friday ordered Catanzara to stop talking about the mandate on social media until at least Oct. 25, when another hearing on the matter is scheduled.

No officers were expected to be taken off the job this weekend for potentially defying the mandate.

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