Chicago Police Canceling Days Off, Extending Hours for Officers Over Fourth of July Weekend

Chicago police officers will have their days off canceled and be placed on 12-hour shifts beginning Friday morning as part of the city’s violence prevention strategy during the Fourth of July weekend.

Chicago Police Department officials outlined their plan ahead of the holiday weekend, which largely revolves around continuing a “whole of government” summer strategy that’s focused on flooding resources into historically violent areas of the city.

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“They’re all in this with us to ensure that it’s a safe weekend for everyone,” First Deputy Superintendent Eric Carter said in reference to other city departments assisting in the summer strategy.

CPD officials on Thursday said there will be additional officers on the ground this weekend, including along the lakefront and around entertainment venues. Those officers will be working extended shifts through Monday.

The whole-of-government strategy lumps some of Chicago’s most historically violent neighborhoods into four zones. Then, using schools, libraries, family support services and other departments, the city is trying to fight violence with resources, all the way down to the block level.

The police department took a similar approach over Memorial Day weekend — during which at least 30 people were shot and three were killed — and will likely do so again for Labor Day weekend, police Superintendent David Brown said.

“We had a 10-year low in violence on Memorial Day weekend,” he said. “We’re going to ride that until the wheels fall off. We want to keep having 10-year lows of violence when we use this strategy, until we have to adjust for some unforeseen thing happening.”

While the department said it has increased its focus on officer wellness, the repeated cancellation of days off and extended hours have been a main point of contention for the Fraternal Order of Police, which represents some 12,000 CPD officers.

FOP Lodge 7 President John Catanzara has said those measures should only be taken when there is a “verifiable, visible, palpable emergency,” instead of being relied on every holiday weekend during the summer.

Earlier this year, Catanzara cited the extended hours and canceled days off as a main reason behind his union’s vote of no-confidence in Brown, Carter and Mayor Lori Lightfoot.

Last year, 17 people were killed and 70 others were wounded in Fourth of July weekend shootings.

There have been 332 homicides recorded in Chicago through the end of June, according to new data from the CPD released Thursday. That’s just below the 338 homicides seen through the first half of 2020, but still marks the second deadliest six-month stretch to start a year since 1999.

CNN contributed to this report.

Contact Matt Masterson: @ByMattMasterson | (773) 509-5431 | [email protected] 

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