Page 17 - 01B_CL7_FEB22.indd
P. 17

Communications Report
Success, but for how long?
 In the December issue of Chicago Lodge 7 mag- azine, I wrote about how every single Chicago Po- lice Officer across the City had at least one day off canceled, and countless members had their tours extended with little to no advance warning. I wrote about the need for officers to have their days off and urged that the Department not continue to cancel officers’ days off and extend those officers’ hours with little to no advance warning. Cancel- ing regular days off without warning and without a
clear reason as to why days off are canceled does not give our members the respect and courtesy they deserve.
As of writing this month’s article, the Office of the First Dep- uty has stopped canceling officers’ days off citywide and is in- stead offering overtime within units and through a new over- time initiative, similar to VRI. This is absolutely great news for all our members, and I commend the Department and com- mand staff for giving our officers that much-needed break to decompress from the rigors of the street. I do not know if my article tipped the scales or if it was even read by anyone within the Department command staff, but I do know that it was picked up by local media. Reporters from the Sun-Times, Chicago Tribune, NBC and WGN all referenced the article in their reporting and posted it on their social media accounts, which was good to see. Much of the public commentary on the posts was in support of our members and highlighted the wrongheadedness of canceling days off for all Chicago Police Officers.
No matter the impetus of why the Department has chosen to stop canceling days off, the result is nevertheless the same. Our members depend on their days off for a number of rea- sons, so this solution the Department is currently using works for all our members. For those officers who wanted the over- time, they still can work their days off; for those officers who need their days off to care for a loved one, be there to pick up the kids from school or finally get around to that “honey-do” list, those officers now do not have to worry about having their days off canceled.
This indeed is a success, but for how long? Things can and often do change quickly in this Department. I truly hope that we do not revert back to canceled days off.
I have said this before, but it is worth repeating: Cancel- ing days off can directly affect an officer’s mental health and well-being. The Department and command staff often speak about the importance of preserving an officer’s mental health and well-being, calling it one of their greatest priorities. We absolutely and wholeheartedly agree. But by canceling days off for no reason and not allowing our members the opportu- nity to step away from the difficult and unpleasant conditions of working the streets of Chicago, those actions are doing the
exact opposite: potentially endangering the mental health and well-being of our members.
I urge the Department and its leadership to continue offer- ing overtime to officers to augment existing manpower issues, rather than canceling days off for all members citywide. Giv- ing officers the choice to work their days off imparts the re- spect and courtesy our members deserve. Our officers’ ability to serve and protect the people of Chicago is rooted directly in those relationships that define who they are. Those relation- ships define each member, and taking that foundation away from officers across the City does not give our members the re- spect and courtesy they deserve. Even worse, taking away that foundation can irreparably affect the children of our members and place undue strain on those crucial relationships.
Thank you again to the Department and command staff for giving our officers that much-needed break to decompress from the rigors of the street. Our officers’ mental health and well-being is paramount, and the best way to ensure exactly that is to allow our members the opportunity to simply spend time with their families.

   15   16   17   18   19