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Chicago’s Vaccine Mandate For Police Suspended By Judge Amid Fight With Police Union, Report Says

The move halts Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s mandate for officers as the city and the Fraternal Order of Police battle over the issue in court.

There was a large police presence in Logan Square on May 31, 2020, amid protests over the killing of George Floyd.

The announcement — first reported by WBEZ’s Patrick Smith — came Monday morning. It temporarily halts Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s mandate that all officers be vaccinated by year’s end as the city and the Fraternal Order of Police, Chicago’s largest union for officers, battle over the issue in court.

Officers must still follow some parts of the mandate: They must report their status and get tested if they are not fully vaccinated. But the Dec. 31 deadline for actually getting the shots is on hold.

The mandate has faced controversy from some corners — particularly the Police Department. The Fraternal Order of Police has encouraged officers to deny the mandate. The city and union have filed dueling lawsuits against each other.

Under Lightfoot’s mandate, all city workers, including officers, were required to be fully vaccinated by Dec. 31 unless they received an exemption. Workers who didn’t meet the requirement faced punishment, including being fired, officials said.

The vast majority of city workers have complied, either getting their shots or reporting their status and agreeing to be tested before the Dec. 31 deadline.

But the Police Department has lagged behind others in getting employees to report their vaccination status.

As of Thursday, 72 percent of Police Department employees have reported their vaccination status to the city. Of the 72 percent who have reported their status, 80 percent of police officers say they are vaccinated, police spokesman Don Terry said Friday.

As of Friday, 30 officers have been relieved of police powers and put into a no-pay status for failing to their vaccination status, he said.

Across the city, 18 of 34 departments have reached 100 percent compliance with the reporting mandate, 10 are at 99 percent compliance and four are between 92-98 percent compliance, according to a letter Lightfoot sent to City Council on Friday.

John Catanzara, president of the police union, held rallies against the mandate last week. A group of aldermen — who are not required to get vaccinated — have also pushed back, with some organizing a City Council meeting Friday where an effort to ditch the mandate was voted down.

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