Chicago police put officers on 12-hour shifts, eliminate days off ahead of Labor Day weekend

Craig Wall Image
Saturday, September 5, 2020
Chicago police eliminate days off ahead of Labor Day weekend
Concerns about violence prompted Chicago police to cancel days off to put more officers on the streets to deter crime.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Chicago is gearing up for the Labor Day Weekend as concerns about violence prompted police to cancel days off to put more officers on the streets to deter crime.

"We've extended their shifts beyond the normal eight hours," Brown said. "They work to 12 hours and we've canceled their days off so again, these officers are not only committed and dedicated but they are really putting forth an extremely good effort."

Mayor Lori Lightfoot hopes the downward trend in violence will continue as Labor Weekend represents the traditional end to the summer. Last year, 41 people were shot, seven fatally, over the holiday weekend.

RELATED: 41 shot, 7 fatally, in 2019 Chicago Labor Day weekend violence

"I think that the superintendent and his team have demonstrated over the last few weeks in particular, that they have a very solid plan for managing violence on the weekends," Mayor Lightfoot said.

Chicago is gearing up for the Labor Day Weekend as concerns about violence prompted police to cancel days off to put more officers on the streets to deter crime.

Chicago police put officers on 12-hour shifts and eliminated days off in hopes of ending the summer on a peaceful note. Mayor Lightfoot expressed confidence in the police department's plan, pointing to the trends in August where homicides decreased by 45%, and shootings were down by 15%.

"I would say that we've got a plan that works," Lightfoot said. "Obviously, it's got to be nimble. We got to adapt to the unique circumstances that are on the ground, in particular geographies across the city."

Chicago Police Supt. David Brown said there will be an all-hands-on-deck approach to safety this holiday weekend.

"I encourage everyone, everyone to relax and have a comfortable, safe, Labor Day," Supt. Brown said. "Meanwhile, Chicago police will be protecting while you enjoy the holiday weekend."

But there are safety concerns about this weekend after two rounds of looting this summer. And there have been more than 500 murders citywide through August, the highest total in five years.

"People are, they're losing confidence in the government's ability to protect them," Ald. Anthony Beale, 9th Ward. "So we have to regain that confidence. And right now, it is not there."

Police said they will be monitoring open source social media this weekend for any indications of plans for looting or violence. While police will make their presence known downtown, they also will be out in the neighborhood commercial corridors to ward off any potential looting.

Mayor Lightfoot got in a friendly game of pickle ball as helped kick off the holiday weekend Friday night in West Humboldt Park. Chicago police and other city agencies gathered on a block that has seen an uptick in crime.

"Just seeing the kids out here playing, everybody is having a good time," block club member Randy Sadler said. "It's definitely something we have been looking forward to."

Several community groups are also doing their part. Increase the Peace organized a back-to-school giveaway in Back of the Yards.

"Because we know that in order for the gun violence to stop, we need good people to stand up and do something about it," said Berto Aguayo, with Increase the Peace. "So that's what we're doing here today inviting people to engage in community.

In Auburn Gresham, Purpose over Pain hosted "a night of healing under the stars" with Windy City Live's Val Warner as the emcee. Purpose over Pain was started by parents who lost children to gun violence.

"This is a holiday weekend. Usually violence is extremely high and our phone ring off the hook around this time," said Pam Bosley, of Purpose Over Pain.

The mayor also noted that police efforts to build community relationships through programs like their weekly neighborhood cleanup events are paying off, with more tips coming in to solve homicides.

"So I think what we're seeing citywide is a rallying and a recognition on the part of individual residents that we all have a role to play in public safety," Mayor Lightfoot said.