coronavirus chicago

21 Chicago Police Officers on No-Pay Status as Brown Says COVID Vaccine Mandate Can ‘Save Lives'

Brown says "hundreds of officers" have been counseled about inputting their information into the city's vaccine portal

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What to Know

  • Just under 68% of CPD employees have input information into the city's vaccine portal
  • "Hundreds" of employees have been counseled, and most have put information into the portal afterward, Brown says
  • No staffing shortages have been reported as a result of the vaccine mandate

Chicago Police Supt. David Brown says that 21 officers have been placed on no-pay status as a result of failure to put their information into the city’s vaccination portal, a decision he feels is necessary to help ensure the safety of both officers and of the public amid the COVID pandemic.

According to Brown, approximately 67.69% of the department’s workforce, both sworn officers and civilians, have entered their data into the vaccination portal as of Tuesday. Of those employees, 82% say that they are fully vaccinated against COVID, while the other 18% will now be subjected to twice-weekly COVID testing through the end of the year.

In all, 21 officers have been placed on no-pay status as a result of their refusal of a direct order from the department’s Internal Affairs division to put their information in the vaccine portal.

The Chicago Police Department on Sunday issued a warning to officers on the consequences of disobeying the city's vaccine mandate, saying those who do not follow the guidelines could face "separation" from the department. Jen DeSalvo reports.

Brown says that “hundreds” officers have been counseled in one-on-one sessions about the vaccine portal, and says that many have put their information into the portal after those sessions.

He says that the process of having officers put their information into the portal, and ultimately the process of getting them vaccinated against COVID, is a matter of safety both for the officers and their families, but also for the safety of the public that they serve.

“This virus is no different than the gunfire we take as cops,” Brown said. “It would go against our oath to take this virus into (residents’) homes. Because we’re not vaccinated, because we’re not tested, we’re going into people’s homes in this community and potentially spreading the virus to people.

“I as superintendent am committed to doing everything I can to protect our cops and our community,” he added.

In all, 79% of Chicago city employees have confirmed their vaccination status, Mayor Lori Lightfoot said Monday, as she announced the city will begin enforcing its vaccine mandate. NBC 5's Mary Ann Ahern reports.

Brown says that the process of counseling employees concerning the mandate has been an “emotional process,” but one that he says is critically important because of the gravity of the situation, with COVID being responsible for more deaths of police officers than any other cause since the pandemic began.

“We believe the work of either getting employees to enter information into the portal, or provide them with testing, will save lives,” he said. “We’ll save the lives of officers we’re getting into the portal, the lives of their family members, their coworkers, and finally the lives of people in the community.”

Brown says the process of counseling officers who have not input their information into the portal will likely take “several more days.” All employees are being counseled in one-on-one sessions, and have to go through a three-step process before they are placed on no-pay status.

Even with those counseling sessions ongoing, and with nearly two dozen officers currently on no-pay status, Brown says that there have been no staffing shortages, contrary to what some officials, both at the city level and in the police union, have said were possible amid the mandate’s introduction.

“I haven’t seen the data to support that. Officers have come to work. We’ve been fully staffed,” he said. “There hasn’t been a shift that’s been short. 21 people are on no-pay status. Everyone else is at work. I don’t anticipate (shortages).”

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