Chicago police brass on Wednesday “encouraged” cops to issue tickets rather than make physical arrests for a long list of misdemeanor violations as the department tries to “limit and prevent incidents of exposure to any communicable disease.”
The memo from CPD General Counsel Dana O’Malley did not specifically mention the unfolding COVID-19 outbreak as the motivation for the department’s move, but the new procedure came as officials work to prevent the virus from spreading to police lockups and the county jail.
A ticket – officially known as an “Administrative Notice of Ordinance Violation” or ANOV – cannot be issued if the alleged crime requires a jail sentence as the only form of punishment, according to O’Malley’s message.
Court dates for newly-issued ANOVs will be scheduled for at least 60 days into the future, an increase from the usual 28 day timeframe.
O’Malley’s message included a list of more than 75 violations that the department has approved for ticketing rather than physical arrest. The list includes:
- Disorderly conduct
- Inciting riots
- Threats or intimidation in public places
- Defacing houses of worship and cemeteries
- Unauthorized videotaping or “upskirting”
- Possession of body armor
- Possession of burglary tools
- Cruelty to children
Many people who are accused of ordinance violations may also face state misdemeanor or felony charges, which would apparently make them ineligible for mere ticketing. Additional changes to law enforcement and jail policies may be in the offing as officials respond to the rapidly-evolving COVID-19 situation.
CPD announced on Thursday morning that one of its officers is quarantined after testing positive for the virus this week.
Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot said in a televised address Thursday that the city’s public schools will remain closed through April 20 due to the pandemic. She also ordered anyone who has tested positive for COVID-19 to stay quarantined except to complete essential tasks like getting food or medical treatment.
Later Thursday, Lightfoot announced that City Hall will not be open to the public as of Friday, Mar. 20. Only “essential service staff” and aldermen will be allowed inside until further notice, the mayor said in a statement.
Lightfoot has been considering a “shelter in place” order that could shut down all “non-essential” city businesses, according to a source with knowledge of high-level discussions. Police, fire, ambulances, hospitals, gas stations, banks, drug stores, grocery stores and laundromats would continue to operate, if such a step is taken.
The mayor of west suburban Oak Park issued a shelter in place order on Wednesday that limits out-of-home activity to “essential activities” such as grocery shopping, medical appointments, and some forms of employment. Outdoor exercise is allowed under the order, although individuals are required to stay six-feet apart from each other. Oak Park’s order takes effect tonight and currently expires April 3.