Under fire for overworking their police department, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot and police Superintendent David Brown dropped their defense of policies that canceled officers’ days off, the Chicago Tribune reports. The about-face comes after enormous political pressure over a series of officer suicides and a report by Inspector General Deborah Witzburg that found in a recent two-month span more than 1,000 police officers were scheduled to work 11 or more consecutive days.
The city’s new rules will limit how many “regular days off” can be canceled in a given workweek. Officers will be guaranteed two consecutive days off each police period, and at least nine hours off between shifts for sworn officers. Brown has often increased officers’ shifts to 12-hour days and canceled days off since 2020 amid a spike in violent crime. Dwindling personnel has meant staffing problems and complaints of fatigue. The police union is seeking a cap on hours, both regular and “forced” overtime. In May 2021, the Chicago Fraternal Order of Police issued a symbolic vote of no confidence against Lightfoot, Brown and the department’s second-in-command, Eric Carter, for reasons including day-off cancellations and shift extensions. Lightfoot disagreed with "the narrative" of overworked police officers, saying notices of canceled days off are given ahead time. “But what I would also say is, you should figure out and look at the incredible amount of furlough days, personal days, and other things that officers have by contract,” she continued, “so this notion — I think the infamous head of the FOP has said as part of his campaign, ‘They’re being worked like mules’ — it’s just simply not correct.”