By Joe Saunders October 19, 2021 at 10:41am
Three days past a deadline for Chicago police officers to report their COVID-19 vaccinations, Illinois officials are dreading more problems in the future.
That’s the message from the Land of Lincoln after a Chicago news outlet reported that state emergency management officials are looking to small towns in surrounding areas to come to the city’s rescue as more than a third of Chicago police officers have failed to comply with a mandate to get fully vaccinated or report their vaccination status by Oct. 15.
And at least one neighboring sheriff isn’t happy about it.
According to WGN-TV, the Illinois state police and the Illinois Emergency Management Agency have emailed law enforcement in small towns like Barrington (population about 15,000) and Kankakee (population about 26,000) to come to the aid of the Windy City (population about 2.7 million) thanks to a potentially looming police shortage caused by Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s vaccination mandate.
And judging by the wording of the email reported by WGN, the request has a distinct air of begging. The police power being requested, it notes, would be for emergency use only.
“To be clear, if members of the ILEAS Special Teams programs are requested, it would be for emergency situations, NOT for routine police assistance and the answering of calls for service within the city limits,” the email states, according to the station. “Illinois State Police and Cook County Sheriff’s Office would be tasked with the patrol needs.”
In a sane country, it would come as a surprise that a major city like Chicago — home of world-class museums, restaurants and sports teams (as well as a hellish crime problem and a ludicrous Obama library) — would be reduced to begging for help from suburban towns and neighboring counties for a basic government function like keeping the peace.
Unfortunately, “sane” isn’t part of the equation in a United States run by a doddering Democratic president with a corrupt and conniving Democratic Congress — and especially not in liberal cities like Chicago, run by a Democratic machine.
It’s Lightfoot’s determination to play hardball with her own police officers that is causing the crisis, and hardball it is.
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On Sunday, Fox News reported, the Chicago Police Department threatened to deny benefits to officers who opt to retire rather than get the shot.
Lightfoot even echoed national Democrats’ complaints about supporters of former President Donald Trump by accusing the police union leadership of attempting to “induce an insurrection” by opposing the mandate, as the Washington Examiner reported.
So far, the hardline tactics don’t appear to be working. Friday was the deadline for city employees to be fully vaccinated or report their status, according to WGN. As of Monday, less than 65 percent had complied.
On Monday, according to the Chicago Tribune, Lightfoot acknowledged that a “very small number” of non-compliant officers had been placed on what the newspaper called “no-pay status.”
But the head of Chicago’s police union – who publicly encouraged officers to defy the mandate before being shut down by a Cook County judge on Friday, according to WMAQ-TV — said that number could grow into the thousands.
“Eventually, there’s going to be a potential manpower issue,” local Fraternal Order of Police President John Catanzara said, according to the Tribune.
Evidently, state officials fear the same thing.
While Lightfoot claims to have “contingency plans” in place, according to WGN, the state police and emergency officials seem to be looking for something a little more solid — like capable, professional men and women with badges, guns, and a willingness to enforce the law. (Exactly the kind of men and women Lightfoot is antagonizing, as a matter of fact.)
But it’s pretty clear Chicago’s reputation for liberal government and demonstrably crooked criminal justice system has some area law enforcement officials wary of getting involved unless it’s absolutely necessary.
Sheriff Ron Haine of Kane County, a western neighbor of Chicago’s Cook County, told WGN that it would take an emergency for his office to respond to anything in Chicago city limits.
“I will not send my personnel to Chicago unless an officer is under direct duress because I cannot support this slanted agenda,” Hain told the station.
“I also will not allow my deputies to be subjected to use of force in the City and be under the prosecutorial jurisdiction of the Cook County State’s Attorney.”
It’s a good bet that attitudes like that aren’t limited to the Kane County Sheriff’s Office. And it’s a safe bet that state emergency management officials know it.
Illinois Democratic Gov. Jay Pritzker has even offered the National Guard to help out, according to CBS News, though Lightfoot hasn’t taken him up on it.
So, a Chicago with a soaring crime rate is getting tougher with its police officers than its notoriously biased prosecution office is with criminals, and the mayor has “contingency plans.”
State officials, meanwhile, are begging local law enforcement agencies to be ready to help out if things get dire.
Trouble in the city’s future is probably the most solid bet of all.