Chicago FOP reeelects John Catanzara as union president

Saturday, March 4, 2023
John Catanazara reelected FOP president
John Catanzara has been reelected as president of Chicago's police union.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Chicago's Fraternal Order of Police have reelected their union president.

John Catanzara, and Detective Robert Bartlett were on the ballot for a three-year term.

During his term, Catanzara has faced criticism for his contentious relationship with Mayor Lori Lightfoot and other city leaders.

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Catanzara has become a lightning rod for criticism in the mayoral race as well for defending the pro-Trump on January 6 that turned into a riot and insurrection on the U.S. Capitol, and for controversial statements he's made on social media.

The Chicago FOP will hold an election Friday, with current president John Catanzara facing a challenge to lead the police union. The election has potential repercussions for the mayoral runoff.

According to the Chicago Tribune, Bartlett, is a 24-year veteran of the department and hopes to rebuild the FOP's relationships with leaders and improve transparency.

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Bartlett believes a Catanzara victory could impact Paul Vallas in the April 4 mayoral runoff election.

"I don't think it's a good thing. I think it's like a lot of people say his polarizing personality isn't good for this lodge or whatever is running for mayor if they're endorsed," he said.

"Shouldn't have anything to do with it. This endorsement didn't come just from John Catanzara, it came from the entire membership. This membership is unified behind the belief that Vallas is the best candidate," Catanzara countered.

The union reelected Catanzara with 57% of the vote.

Vallas has tried to distance himself from Catanzara, and declined to weigh in on the FOP election.

"I believe that I have the strong support of the rank and file police officers and that's why I was selected and endorsed not only by the Fraternal Order of Police, but also by the sergeants," he said.

Brandon Johnson carefully sidestepped the FOP's election and focused on his own campaign.

"That's an internal union election. The rank and file members get to determine that, and what I get to determine is how we have a budget that makes critical investments so that we can have a safer Chicago," Johnson said.

Longtime West Side alderman Water Burnett also confirmed to ABC7 Chicago that he will officially endorse Vallas on Saturday.