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August 9, 2022

Who Needs a Day Off: Chicago Mayor Disputes that Officers are Overworked

In a not so surprising open mouth insert foot moment, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot disputed that Chicago Police Officers are being overworked. A Chicago Aldermen approved an ordinance Wednesday providing a death benefit to spouses of first responders who die by suicide. Lightfoot told reporters the department notifies officers when their days off are canceled and stated officers have an “incredible amount of time off” as part of their contracts.

Chicago City Council members approved the ordinance unanimously after Southwest Side Alderman Matt O’Shea and other aldermen spoke about the hardships faced by officers, including having their days off repeatedly canceled amid staffing issues and rising crime rates.

Chicago Police Department Superintendent David Brown has repeatedly canceled days off and increased offers shift to 12-hour days since 2020 as violent crime continues to be an issue for the city. Chicago Police Department has continued to have staffing issues. In 2019 the department had 13,263 sworn police officers. As of June 2022, the department has 11,638, according to the city’s inspector general’s office.

Lightfoot disputed the narrative about a police officer being overworked in a post-council meeting news conference. Lightfoot stated officers are “given notice ahead of time when days off are going to be canceled. Including Memorial Day, Father’s Day, and 4th of July” in 2022. Lightfoot went on to say, “obviously there are some times when there may be an emergency and a day off has to be canceled, or because of a particular circumstances in a particular geographic area, there may be a reason to hold people over their tour for a couple of hours But what I would also say is, you should figure out and look at the incredible amount of furlough days, personal days, and other things that officers have by contract. So, this notion — I think the infamous head of the FOP has said as part of his campaign, ‘They’re being worked like mules’ — it’s just simply not correct.”

Lightfoots comments drew anger from Fraternal Order of Police President John Catanzaro, who stated, “Fact: cops are burnt out, they are not getting that needed time off, and they absolutely don’t have enough support from this mayor or superintendent. Period.”

This is the first of many controversies that have befallen Lightfoot’s administration involving public safety issues.