Chicago police vaccine mandate: CPD redoubles efforts for officer compliance; 21 on no-pay status

ByDiane Pathieu, Craig Wall, Karen Jordan, and ABC7 Chicago Digital Team WLS logo
Wednesday, October 20, 2021
CPD brass redouble efforts for COVID vaccine mandate compliance
Chicago police continue to defy the city COVID vaccine mandate put in place by Mayor Lori Lightfoot, even as disciplinary action ramps up.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Chicago police officials are ramping up their efforts to get CPD officers to obey the city's COVID vaccine mandate, saying safety is their top priority.

CPD Superintendent David Brown said less than two dozen officers have been sent home without pay for refusing. He also said the number of officers in compliance has gone up from 64% on Monday to more than 67% today, and of those 82% are fully vaccinated.

Officers who have not complied with the mandate by either refusing to upload vaccine status to the city's online portal or who have not gotten vaccinated and won't submit to testing are being taken off the streets and put on no-pay status, as the mandate requires.

For a second day in a row, CPD officers who have defied the reporting mandate were told to report to police headquarters, where they are given orders to comply and then given a chance to change their minds.

"So of the several hundred we've talked to, 21 are in no-pay status," Brown said. "I don't know if we've change their minds or if they've made the decision themselves to get in the portal."

Monday the city released data showing compliance levels across all city departments.

The city said that as of yesterday, 79% of employees have confirmed vaccination status, and of those 84% are fully vaccinated.

The mandate gave all city employees until October 15 to get vaccinated. The department with the lowest level of compliance was the police department.

RELATED: Latest CPD memo says cops who don't follow city COVID vaccine mandate not eligible for promotions

Second Ward Alderman Brian Hopkins is worried that a couple thousand officers who refuse to provide their vaccination status will be taken off the street.

"We are simply not in a position to fire 2,000 police officers right now," he said. "We can't do that. That is not in our best interest."

Hopkins said he supports the vaccine mandate, but crime is on the rise and police are needed more than ever.

"If we could give them support instead of condemnation, we might actually be able to close the gap on the number of unvaccinated police officers that remain," Hopkins said.

And Brown confirmed he is working to convince officers not just to comply with entering their information into the city's vaccine portal, but to actually get vaccinated.

"I will say and do anything to save an officer's life," he said. "If it takes going through a counseling session, going to a no-pay status, going to internal affairs or a direct order, if that's what it takes, I'm willing to do it."

The mayor promised they would take action against city employees who did not comply with her reporting mandate, and police brass moved quickly to send a message to officers and other employees who refused to follow orders, starting with those working at CPD headquarters.

The FOP claims that because the city did not fairly bargain over the vaccination mandate, the order to report their status is invalid. One legal expert said the union is on shaky ground.

"The general approach is obey now, grieve later. That is, if you think an order is improper, you're still expected to obey it and then file a grievance and fight it our afterwards," said Martin Malin, a retired labor law professor for Kent College of Law.

On Wednesday, the two sides go back to court with the FOP asking the judge who heard the case Friday to recuse herself.