Citing continual overtime and canceled parade, police union votes “no confidence” in mayor and top cops

The labor union representing Chicago’s front-line police officers unanimously approved a no-confidence vote Wednesday evening against Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot, police Supt. David Brown, and the department’s second-in-command, according to a post on the group’s YouTube channel.

“Today, the membership spoke loud and clear,” Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 7 President John Catanzara said in the video, calling the action a “unanimous vote with zero dissent.”

The action is largely symbolic and has no consequences for any of the named leaders. Chicago’s police union passed similar votes against former police superintendents Jody Weis and Eddie Johnson during their respective terms.

Catanzara said the no-confidence vote arose from two specific concerns: the cancelation of the annual St. Jude Memorial March, which honors fallen police officers, and working conditions for cops.

The city has not permitted any large public events since the COVID pandemic arrived in March 2020, but Catanzara called authorities’ refusal to approve this year’s parade a “lack of respect” for the families of fallen officers.

Turning to complaints about working conditions, Catanzara said city leaders had shown a “lack of consideration” for officers’ family and social lives by forcing cops to work 12-hour shifts for days on end and canceling officers’ days off.

Chicago police ride a bus to an overtime deployment on Fourth of July weekend in 2019. | CPD

Earlier this week, the department announced that officers will be required to work 12-hour shifts from May 21 to June 7 with two split days off over the period. All officers are required to work Memorial Day weekend, according to the department order.

“The superintendent was very clear to me on the phone that the reason this is being done was because of the anniversary of George Floyd’s death and the fear that something might happen,” he continued.

“It’s become a reoccurring theme for the last several years that every holiday is going to be [days off] canceled because they’re trying to keep the [murder] numbers down,” Catanzara said. “The numbers still come no matter what. I mean, we had record overtime last year, but yet in July we had record numbers. In one day, we had 21 homicides. So what did that overtime accomplish? Nothing.”

“It is pretty close to a contract violation which says it has to be an emergency” for the department to cancel cops’ days off, Catanzara said. “There is no emergency.”

The union chief claimed that extended work hours without time off erodes morale, creates mental health issues for officers, and stretches family ties.

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