by: Ben Bradley, Andrew Schrödter
Posted: Oct 19, 2021 / 10:16 PM CDTUpdated: 10/19/2021 / 10:16 PM CDT
CHICAGO – The city is well on its way to losing more than 1,000 officers to resignation and retirement this year, the highest annual total since at least 2018.
And that was before the vaccine mandate controversy began to accelerate.
“There is a mass exodus,” says FOP President John Catanzara.
One was caused in part by burnout and fatigue, so fewer officials battled a citywide increase in violent crime.
According to city data from WGN Investigates, there were a total of 12,258 sworn employees in June 2021, up from 13,218 two years ago.
The decline is fueled by the 597 officers who resigned or retired in the first seven months of this year and who nearly matched or exceeded the annual figures of the past few years, data showed.
Twenty-one Chicago police officers were deprived of their powers for failure to comply with vaccine reporting mandates
“If you look at it, it’s a recipe for disaster,” says Councilor Anthony Beale (9th district). “And we’re seeing that right now. That’s why crime is escalating in the city of Chicago. “
There is no database showing where officers end up after leaving town. However, observers say older officers are retiring while younger ones, those with five years or less of experience, take on new jobs in the suburbs.
In the past few weeks, WGN Investigates spoke to numerous police officers in Cook and DuPage Counties. All said they had hired police officers in Chicago or saw interest from them growing.
“We see this as a win-win situation,” said James Kruger, police chief of Oak Brook. “I think it’s good for the potential employee and good for the organization.”
If necessary, suburban police asked to volunteer to help Chicago
Meanwhile, Chicago is fighting for new recruits, leaving the city with no solution to a labor shortage that could worsen if more officials, as some threatened, leave because of the city’s vaccine mandate.
“The guidelines that have been introduced are not working,” says Beale. “The resources are not there and nothing changes. And that’s why we have to change it. And we have to change that now. “
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