Chicago’s mayor and police officers face off over vaccine mandates

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chicago police the second largest police force in the nation in a standoff with the mayor over the city’s vaccine mandate only about 65 percent of the police force has complied with the order requiring officers to submit their vaccination status whether they’ve done it or not now those officers who are refusing to comply could face suspension or even termination abc’s alex perez joining us now from chicago with more so alex how is the department ironically as we’re hearing sirens behind you uh handling the officers who are refusing to comply well cara you know the department issued a memo that said basically if you do not comply these officers do not comply they could risk losing their jobs now this standoff has been brewing and bubbling uh for several weeks now and there really seems to be no immediate solution in sight now let’s backtrack a little bit and sort of explain how we got here back in august the mayor the city decided that all city employees including these officers would have to be vaccinated to continue to keep their jobs by october 15th now once october 15th arrived uh last week the city sort of backtracked a little bit and said you know what we are going to make it give you to the end of the year to be vaccinated but you do have to report your vaccination status and that’s when the police union president really said we’re not having that he says his officers not only do not want to report their status because they feel it’s an invasion of privacy but he says several of the officers on the force simply do not want to get vaccinated now the mayor is really pressing these officers they say telling them that they don’t want to risk losing their careers over something like this and the police union president has publicly been talking to these officers and telling them if they’re forced to fill out these forms inside this web portal where they have to report all of this that they should really explain in that form all of the additional stress that this is causing them now let’s take a listen to what the police union president had to say about filling out these forms you will be given the direct order you have a choice at that point to comply or not comply if you comply with the direct order that’s when you fill out the two from it is basically saying you are only cooperating under duress and threat of your job now as far as we know at this point according to the union president it’s about 20 officers right now who are on this no pay status because they refuse to comply but the union president is threatening saying that as many as 3 000 officers could walk away from their jobs or be put into this no pay status if they’re forced to comply now of course that would be a significant number of the police department that would not be available and uh the mayor here really trying to underplay that saying that the number is much smaller than that kyrah terry uh alex chicago my beloved hometown has has struggled and suffered for years now from the scourge of gang violence of gun violence what would the loss of up to one third of the police force mean for for the safety of the citizens of chicago which has seen a spike in violent crime yeah terry you know this is my hometown too so i feel that pain alongside with you and unfortunately the violence that we see here is violence that it’s happening in cities across the country and um just like any other city losing a third of the police force in a city the size of chicago would be significant we’ve seen homicide rates across the country continue to climb including here in chicago and violence numbers violent crime continue to also increase and the solution to a lot of that is more officers officers on patrol officers on the streets and so if we don’t have those officers to do that it could create some real problems we’re already seeing uh in in a city like seattle we’re seeing detectives and non-patrol officers responding to calls because patrol officers are refusing uh to comply to to mandates there so this issue could continue to grow the problem could continue to grow and it’s really frustrating for people who just want to feel safe risking not really having to deal with this and possibly risking not having enough officers on the streets clearly explaining the impact all across the country there alex perez for us in chicago

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