Thankless job: CPD cancels holiday weekend time off for specialized units

The Chicago Police Department has canceled days off for three specialized units over the upcoming holiday weekend, according to an email sent to police executives Wednesday night.

Beginning Thanksgiving night, regular days off are canceled for officers assigned to district tactical teams, Crisis Intervention Response Teams (CIRT), and Community Safety Teams (CST), CPD Chief of Operations Brian McDermott said in the email. A copy of the message was provided to CWBChicago by a source.

Police Supt. Over the summer, David Brown created CIRT to provide rapid responses to developing incidents like large gatherings and protests. Less than two weeks after he announced the new unit, thousands of looters ravaged the Magnificent Mile and other retail corridors in a wave of social media-fueled rioting.

Brown created the CST program in July, too. Officers assigned to that unit focus on anti-violence efforts in the city’s most troubled police districts.

Normal days off for affected officers will resume Monday morning, November 30, McDermott wrote.

He gave no reason for the schedule changes. However, groups have staged high-profile protests downtown over previous Thanksgiving weekends. Protesters often try to disrupt shopping along the Magnificent Mile retail corridor on Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, which traditionally marks the start of the holiday shopping season.

COVID-related restrictions and looting waves in May and August have delivered a “one-two punch” to Chicago’s downtown retail outlets. With tourism down sharply and public events like parades, shows, and holiday festivals canceled, there is not likely to be much business for would-be protesters to disrupt this year.

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CWBChicago was created in 2013 by five residents of Wrigleyville and Boystown who had grown disheartened with inaccurate information that was being provided at local Community Policing (CAPS) meetings. Our coverage area has expanded since then to cover Lincoln Park, River North, The Loop, Uptown, and other North Side Areas. But our mission remains unchanged: To provide original public safety reporting with better context and greater detail than mainstream media outlets. Our editorial email address is news@cwbchicago.com