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President’s Report: Second Stories
 Cover story: the manpower crisis
The photo you see here that is on the cover of this issue shows emp- ty lockers at the Academy. It is a statement on how the manpower in the Department – especially on the streets – is declining so much that the job is getting even more dangerous.
Is it fair to call it a crisis? It’s getting there.
Deputy Mayor John O’Malley indicated as much when he spoke during a Jan. 26 Zoom meeting organized by East Lakeview Neighbors. “I can tell you there is a significant, almost alarming reduction in the number of police officers in the city of Chicago,” O’Malley told the
Lakeview group.
And I don’t think the City or the Department has a clue what to do
about it.
They think they’re going to get 14,000 applicants to the Academy,
according to the superintendent. He’s out of his damn mind. That might be people who apply online, but it doesn’t mean people who end up taking the test, people who end up passing the test or people who end up in the academy. So they throw out this inflated number like a solution to the problem and think help is coming.
The reality is, we lost 1,000 officers last year to retirement, resigna- tions or lateral transfers. And we’re probably going to lose that many again this year. I think it was more than 150 who retired on Jan. 15.
There’s a big expectation of another group mid-February, and then you’ve got another big group with the sergeants come May 15. Be- tween those three dates there, you’re probably looking at almost 500 gone. So there’s no way they’re keeping up.
Now that they’re opening up the Violence Reduction Initiative (VRI), maybe there will be an opportunity for members to actually volunteer to work overtime, and that might help ease a slice of the manpower shortage. I don’t know. We’ll see.
 We are moving forward with the arbitration over canceling RDOs. We had a memorandum of understanding from a previous grievance that was specific to certain holidays. As usual, as with anything else, the City has used the decision for their own benefit. And it’s just what they do.
They play games all the time for their own benefit. We all know there’s an issue with manpower. It’s not getting better. It’s going to get worse.
They must realize that there’s an issue coming, because they’re bringing back VRI, surprisingly. Why would you do that, unless you know that there’s going to be an issue come arbitration time and you can’t just arbitrarily be forcing people to cancel their days off just be-
cause? So it’s almost what we’ve asked for from the beginning, to have a voluntary system for members to work overtime. Don’t just cancel days off just because.
But they did it again the weekend after Jason Van Dyke was set to be released. There are people threatening to incite violence, but the Department just looks the other way because they are cowards. In- stead of putting them in check, they’ve literally had press conferences telling the Michigan Avenue retailers, “Don’t be surprised if your stores are torched and looted. Because apparently that’s the only thing you guys understand. We don’t want to see it happen, but we understand if it does.”
What kind of shit is that?
Perhaps you saw where they postponed a vote to confirm Andrea Kersten as chief administrator for COPA because they didn’t have enough votes in the city council’s public safety committee.
Chris Taliaferro, the supposed police officer, coward, chairman of the committee, carried the mayor’s water again. He took a five-minute break, did a roll-call vote behind the scenes and realized there weren’t enough votes to get her approved. So they tabled it in committee until a later date instead of voting to shoot it down, because he knew that was going to happen if he called a vote. Total coward maneuver.
It will come up again. But there’s enough pushback. There’s enough anger. Her stupid explanation of why Ella French’s name was included in that report is total bullshit. And you can quote me on that. She had
the authority and the moral obligation to say, “It’s not going in there.” But she doesn’t know anything about morals. It’s all about hammering the police.
There are so many other reasons she is not worthy of leading that organization. That organization under her has taken even a harder turn toward hammering police than it did under Sydney Roberts. I don’t know if that’s just the way she believes or she doesn’t want to end up like Roberts, fired by the mayor because, “You’re not doing enough.” Whether Kersten believes in it or she’s doing what the mayor wants her to do, she needs to go. She shouldn’t be part of the organization, let alone heading it.
Fighting for RDOs
COPA bananas
that I would say 500 to 1,000 of them are never getting vaccinated under any circumstances.
We already have manpower issues as it is. What are you going to do if 1,000 officers leave? It’s not only a safety concern for officers on the street. The public in general will be less safe. And the other consideration they never seem to give is the crunch on the pension that that would produce with 1,000 more people who won’t be col- lecting paychecks and paying into the fund.
We emphasized that our proposal of testing, testing, testing is the only logical path forward at this point. We touched on the ex-
emption numbers and the ridiculous big middle finger the City has given us because we’re the only ones fighting when it comes to po- lice exemptions, as opposed to the rest of the city workforce. Their numbers are dismal, 26 percent as of mid-December. There were only, I think, 1,400 total from the rest of the city workforce, separate from the police department, who filed for exemptions. They had only processed, a little fewer than 700. That’s pathetic.
So how does anybody not see that as a big middle finger to the union and to police unions in general? But that’s the way we’ve been treated from the beginning because the Department just hates any- body challenging them and their dictatorial ways.

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