Several suburban Chicago sheriffs announced they will not send deputies to Chicago to deal with possible staffing shortages over vaccine mandates.
Kane County Sheriff Ron Hain, a Democrat, told The Chicago Tribune that he doesn’t “feel like the onus is on us to go in there in an emergency situation that was created by poor government and a lack of support the officers receive.”
A statewide law enforcement coalition sent a notice, known as the Illinois Law Enforcement Alarm System (ILEAS), to its members, encompassing a number of different statewide law enforcement agencies, said ILEAS Executive Director James Page in an interview with Officer.com
But the ILEAS “typically responds to emergency situations where there is no opportunity for planning,” Hain said Tuesday. “This situation to me is much different.”
Kendall County Sheriff Dwight Baird, a Republican, issued a similar comment to the newspaper, saying Democrat Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot created a “self-induced emergency” by issuing vaccine mandates for the Chicago Police Department and other city workers.
And DuPage County Sheriff James Mendrick said that potentially replacing unvaccinated Chicago officers with unvaccinated deputies from nearby counties makes little sense.
“It doesn’t make sense to say I only want my residents touching vaccinated people, but I’m going to send all these potentially unvaccinated people from other municipalities to replace them,” Mendrick told the outlet.
“It’s like a preplanned police shortage,” he also said, adding that “the lack of logic is the thing that astounds me.”
And Hain also told other media outlets that he doesn’t want to send his deputies to Chicago who will potentially have to use force in the city under the prosecutorial jurisdiction of the Cook County state’s attorney.
“It just seems to be a wild card without a clear understanding of what is reality and what is not,” Hain remarked. “I have a great deal of faith in our state’s attorney here and I understand how she would review a case, but in Cook County, how does Jussie Smollett get so much attention and get released, but a police officer gets charged with excessive use of force and aggravated battery?”
Amid an escalating war of words with Chicago’s police unions, Lightfoot has said that officers who do not submit to the city’s vaccination mandate for its staff, including officers, can be terminated. The deadline for vaccination was Oct. 15, and officials told local media that only about 64 percent of Chicago police had reported their vaccination status.
“What we’ve seen from the Fraternal Order of Police, in particular leadership, is a lot of misinformation, a lot of half-truths,” Lightfoot told reporters on Monday, claiming the union is attempting to trigger an “illegal work stoppage.”
During a news briefing Monday, Democrat Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker told reporters that the state police could be requested if needed, adding that he could deploy the National Guard if a serious emergency arises over a lack of policing.
The Chicago mayor’s office and police department have not returned requests for comment.