FOP Lodge 7 President John Catanzara and Community Commission for Public Safety and Accountability Presidemt Anthony Driver appear on “Chicago Tonight” on Dec. 11, 2023.

The head of Chicago’s largest police union believes his officers in his union should have the right to go to arbitration over the most serious disciplinary decisions, but reform leaders believe doing so could “set us back decades.”

Chicago Police Department Headquarters, 3510 S. Michigan Ave. (Michael Izquierdo / WTTW News)

If 30 members of the Chicago City Council vote Wednesday to reject the changes to the police discipline system, a judge will likely decide whether Chicago officers facing a suspension of at least a year or termination have the right to have their cases decided by an arbitrator rather than by the Chicago Police Board.

(WTTW News)

In a highly unusual move, Mayor Brandon Johnson will ask members of the Workforce Committee to reject a key part of the proposed contract extension, which would give some Chicago officers the right to have their discipline cases decided by an arbitrator rather than by the Chicago Police Board.

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The deal, which must be approved by the Chicago City Council, resolves the issues left over from the contract agreement reached by former Mayor Lori Lightfoot in July 2021 that ended the longest union negotiations in the city’s history.

Demonstrators march in Chicago on Wednesday, June 24, 2020, to show their support for removing police officers from schools. (WTTW News)

The board on Tuesday rejected a motion brought by the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 7, which sought to move 22 disciplinary cases from the board to an independent arbitrator, following a summer ruling that opened the door for such a shift.

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The board ordered the city to rehire employees that were terminated after they refused to get the vaccine and awarded back pay – plus interest – to those employees who were disciplined because.

Jessica "Jessie" Fuentes, left, and Julian Perez are running to replace retiring 26th Ward Ald. Roberto Maldonado. (Provided)

The Fraternal Order of Police Lodge No. 7’s political action committee made an in-kind contribution of approximately $10,000 to the campaign of Julian “Jumpin’” Perez, who used those funds to pay for the flyers. 

Chicago City Hall. (Michael Izquierdo / WTTW News)

The Chicago Board of Election Commissioners removed Frederick Collins from the Feb. 28 ballot on Friday, ruling that the Chicago police officer had not collected at least 12,500 valid signatures from registered Chicago voters to qualify for the contest. 

Chicago police officers respond to Ariel Roman, who is seated on the ground moments after he was shot inside the Grand Red Line station on Feb. 28, 2020. (Civilian Office of Police Accountability)

According to the Cook County State's Attorney's Office, Cook County Judge Joseph Claps issued the verdict Tuesday in the bench trial of Officer Melvina Bogard, who was charged last year with the nonfatal shooting of Ariel Roman inside the Grand Red Line station.

Mayor Lori Lightfoot addresses the news media Monday, March 14, 2022. (Heather Cherone/WTTW News)
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It is the second time in six months that alderpeople have called an emergency meeting of the City Council to publicly push back against Lightfoot’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate. The alderpeople demanded the session one day after the deadline for Chicago Police Department members to get at least the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.

Mayor Lori Lightfoot speaks Monday, Oct. 25, 2021 at the Chicago City Council meeting. (WTTW News)
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Employees who are not vaccinated will not be paid and may face additional “disciplinary action, up to and including termination,” Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s office said in a statement Friday evening. 

Mayor Lori Lightfoot speaks Monday, Oct. 25, 2021 at the Chicago City Council meeting. (WTTW News)
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Chicago Police officers must be vaccinated against COVID-19, an arbitrator ruled Wednesday, handing Mayor Lori Lightfoot a significant victory.

(WTTW News)

Mayor Lori Lightfoot issued a statement Wednesday night saying the city had dropped its lawsuit at her discretion following an increase in compliance among Chicago police officers with the city’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate.

Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 7 President John Catanzara appears on “Chicago Tonight” via Zoom on May 14, 2020. (WTTW News)

A day after he announced his intention to leave the department, John Catanzara — the first-term president of the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 7 — posted a picture of his personnel action request on his Facebook page, which shows that he has indeed retired from the CPD.

John Catanzara (WTTW News)

The stunning announcement comes after John Catanzara, the head of the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 7, spent hours testifying at his own termination hearing Monday.

Mayor Lori Lightfoot
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“It is not surprising to me that he did not want to face accountability for his own conduct,” Mayor Lori Lightfoot said.