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Chicago Police Issue Warning to Officers on ‘Consequences' of Disobeying Vaccine Policy: Sources

The internal notice warns that those who do not comply with the vaccine policy will be under investigation and could face penalties as a result, sources told NBC 5

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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.

The internal notice warns that those who do not comply with the vaccine policy will be under investigation and could face penalties as a result, sources told NBC 5.

It comes amid an ongoing battle between Fraternal Order of Police President John Catanzara and the city over the mandate.

Catanzara released a video statement Friday night after a Cook County judge ordered the union chief to stop making public comments encouraging his members to defy the city’s COVID vaccine policies.

Friday marked a deadline for officers to enter their vaccination status into a city web portal, something Catanzara had encouraged them not to do.

Following the judge's ruling, Catanzara posted a video online explaining he won't be able to speak on the policy until a follow-up hearing Monday.

"With that being said, everybody has to do what's in their hearts and minds, whatever that it is," he explained.

Catanzara then continued, taking a swipe at Chicago's leadership.

"Policy starts at the top in this city, and it has proven time and time again that the top of this city's policy needs to change, with that being said..."

He then held up a sign that read: "John Catanzara for Mayor 2023" and said "enough is enough."

Earlier, during the hearing Friday, City attorney Michael Warner said police would be expected to upload their vaccination status by midnight Friday night. But he repeated an earlier position that no one would be sent home for refusing, because as a “practical reality,” it will take officials time to determine who is in compliance.

Under the city's rules, city employees who weren't vaccinated by Oct. 15 need to get tested twice a week on their own time and expense until the end of the year, when they will be required to be vaccinated. Any employee not complying with those requirements could face disciplinary action, including and up to termination.

City officials say that employees who don’t adhere to the mandate, filling out information on a health portal set up by the health department, will also be designated as non-disciplinary non-paid status.

City officials have said there is no requirement to enter detailed medical information — only vaccination status and proof of vaccination.

"There is information online saying that people are being requested to upload private medical records, lots of medical history, DNA sample - none of that is true," Chicago Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady said.

The city has a similar COVID-19 vaccine requirement for employees of city schools, which the Chicago Teachers Union supported.

NBC Chicago/Associated Press
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