Chicago Police Union Pres. On Officers Defying Vaccine Mandate: The Policy Is Schizophrenic

‘The reality is we have a profession nobody else wants to do right now’

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EARHARDT: “Today Chicago’s vaccine mandate takes effect, but in a city surging with violent crime, what does this mean for the men and women who keep it all safe? John Catanzara is the president of the Chicago Fraternity of Police and he joins us now. Good morning to you, John.”
CATANZARA: “Good morning, Ainsley.”
EARHARDT: “Good morning. So she says this is your option, you either get — you can get vaccinated or you can file for an exemption if you do that and choose not to get vaccinated. Then you have to get tested twice a week. Why are you against that?”
CATANZARA:” Well, because the policy, first of all, is schizophrenic. The teachers have a different policy. The teachers are literally you’re vaccinated or you get tested, you don’t have to report your vaccine status. We have a mandate to report our vaccine status by midnight tonight. Doesn’t make any sense. That’s step one.”
EARHARDT: “So you’re asking people not to go on the city’s portal and report whether or not they’ve been vaccinated or not?”
CATANZARA: “Correct.”
EARHARDT: “Okay. So what do your police officers say? How many of them are vaccinated or choosing not to?”
CATANZARA: “The numbers we have are probably around half are not, but even the ones that are, like myself, still believe that a forced mandate is absolutely wrong.”
EARHARDT: “Well, you have a good argument. Why are they making police officers report their vaccination status and not teachers? What is her response to that?”
CATANZARA: “‘Don’t worry about it. Don’t look over there. Listen to what I say.’ Everything from this mayor is a dictatorship. This is all about policy from the top. There was no public outcry for this policy to take effect. She just decided she was going to do it and push it on the entire city workforce across the board. There’s low cooperation and this is just not the police department, you include firemen, first responders, we’ve gotten calls from labor unions, streets and sand, the water department, you name it, everybody across the board is up in arms about this mandate. But it doesn’t matter.”
EARHARDT: “She said no one’s going to be sent home immediately, it’s going to take a few days for them to figure out who is and is not complying. She says, ‘But if you don’t agree to take the vaccine or get tested twice a week, we will move forward and put people on a no-pay status.’ How will your officers pay their bills?”
CATANZARA: “Well, I guess we’re going to see how that works out, because we had a meeting the other night and our lodge had never been more filled with members. They are literally engaged in this fight going forward. They were willing to go into a no-pay status at midnight tonight and get sent home, if that’s what was going to happen, and get locked out by the city. I don’t know that that’s going to change very much if now they’re threatening suspension or even termination. You know, the reality is we have a profession nobody else wants to do right now. They cannot get anybody to go into the police academy, but yet here she is vilifying the police yet again in a city that has over 185 expressway shootings this year alone, over 280 kids shot this year alone, and she acts like there’s nothing else going on but this Covid.”
EARHARDT: “And I hear there are a thousand police vacancies in Chicago, crime is is surging and so are homicides. Thank you for everything you did and for working through the pandemic, John.”
CATANZARA: “Thanks, Ainsley.”
EARHARDT: “You’re welcome. We did reach out to Mayor Lightfoot’s office for comment, but we did not hear back.”

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