CPD ends anti-looting deployment that pulled cops from districts for a year; 12-hour workday order cut short, too

Chicago Police Department leaders will no longer pull cops from local police districts to sit on downtown streets as part of their year-old anti-looting strategy, according to a written order provided to CWBChicago. In a separate decision, brass are also cutting short an order that would have required cops to work 12-hour days with only two days off for nearly three weeks.

Police leaders launched the “Downtown Daily Deployment Plan” after waves of rioting and looting hit the downtown area one year ago and again in August. The tactic moved cops from neighborhood patrols and local tactical teams to the downtown area where they literally sat in their cars to maintain visibility for their entire shifts.

A “downtown deployment” unit sits in the middle of State Street in the Loop on April 29, 2021. | CWBChicago

But CPD Chief of Patrol Brian McDermott on Sunday ordered the department’s deputy chiefs and district commanders to end the deployment plan at the end of the evening shift on Monday, May 31.

“Units will return to their Districts for assignment as determined by the District Commander,” McDermott’s order said. “Thank you for all your efforts and professionalism during the duration of this plan.”

Separately, CPD’s second-in-command ordered an early end to a planned 18-day stretch of 12-hour days with limited time off for all of the city’s cops. The extended hours plan began on May 21 and was scheduled to run through June 7.

But the order from First Dep. Supt, Eric Carter\will end the overtime initiative beginning with officers who report to work Tuesday morning, June 1.

“All personnel will return to their regular watch, assignments, tour-of-duty hours, and day-off schedules,” the order said.

The department came under fire from unions representing front-line cops and sergeants after the 18-day extended hours order was announced.

On May 19, Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 7 cited the extended work hours as one reason their members approved a no-confidence vote in Carter, Supt. David Brown, and Mayor Lori Lightfoot.

“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,” union president John Catanzara said after the vote. “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.”

Catanzara said extended work hours without time off erodes morale, creates mental health issues for officers, and stretches family ties.

Last week, the sergeants’ union issued a statement that called the 18-day stretch of 12-hour shifts “a recipe for disaster.”

“The lack of proper and adequate rest and sleep has a cumulative effect on the human body and mind,” the statement said. “In some cases, Members are only being given 5-hours between their shifts.

“When you’re tired and you’re having to make literally life or death decisions, you’re not going to be at your best if you are working a schedule that essentially is around the clock with really no breaks,” the letter quoted Lightfoot as saying during contract negotiations. “You can’t be well if you don’t have time to recover from one of the most tough and traumatic jobs that there are, which is to be a police officer in an urban environment like Chicago.”

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