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Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot received a rude awakening after multiple sheriffs in nearby jurisdictions refused her request to fill the gap in police manpower after she threatened to fire 3,000 local officers for not complying with the city's COVID-19 vaccine mandate.
DuPage County Sheriff James Mendrick and Kane County Sheriff Ron Hain said they've helped Lightfoot in the past, but her latest request is a self-inflicted wound that could have been avoided. They said they would only step in and help the Chicago Police Department if city officers were in distress or under duress.
"[The Illinois Law Enforcement Alarm System] typically responds to emergency situations where there is no opportunity for planning," Hain told the Daily Herald on Tuesday. "This situation to me is much different."
“This is all begotten by a lack of planning and support of the Chicago Police Department,” Hain added. “So now, they are bleeding that out to us.”
Mendrick called the Chicago situation a "preplanned police shortage" and said, "The lack of logic is the thing that astounds me."
Lightfoot has come under fire for threatening suspension or termination of police officers who don't obey the city's vaccination mandate.
On Wednesday, a top Chicago police union official likened the vaccine standoff with Lightfoot to the Hunger Games, warning younger members to consider future mandates if they caved to the mayor's demands.
The video message from the local Fraternal Order of Police First Vice President Michael Metter was posted on social media as the Chicago Police Department slowly sifted through a list of more than 3,000 employees who defied Lightfoot's Friday deadline to report their vaccine status.
The city has given those employees one final opportunity to comply before placing them on a no-pay status.
The FOP tried unsuccessfully Wednesday morning to get a temporary restraining order to circumvent the COVID-19 mandate, but the hearing was delayed. Additionally, there was a motion to transfer the case, citing legal procedure, ABC7 reported.
On top of that, a judge ordered FOP boss John Catanzara to stop talking about the mandate on social media.
City officials have accused him of encouraging law enforcement officers to strike by telling them they should defy Lightfoot's mandate. The FOP maintains the city's vaccination mandate is a violation of their collective bargaining agreement.
As the drama plays out in Chicago, the Indiana State Police has actively tried to poach disgruntled police officers.
"Hey Chicago Police Officers, we're hiring! No vaccine mandate. Apply today ... Lower taxes, great schools, welcoming communities," Sgt. Glen Fifield, a press information officer for the Indiana State Police, tweeted Wednesday.
As of Thursday, at least four Chicago police officers have died from COVID-19. A recent New York Times report found that in the past two years, more than four times as many police officers died from COVID-19 than gunfire.
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Original Author: Barnini Chakraborty