23rd Ward Ald. Silvana Tabares

23rd Ward Ald. Silvana Tabares

Days off are days off, Tabares says

Cops cheer call for City Hall to stop ‘abusing’ police

By Tim Hadac

Until the Lightfoot Administration comes up with a plan to stop canceling police officers’ regular days off, 23rd Ward Ald, Silvana Tabares is asking that city government withhold permits of all public parades and festivals that rely on the protection of on-duty police officers.

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23rd Ward Ald. Silvana Tabares

“The Chicago Police Department is heavily relied upon for most large-scale events, providing security and crowd control at a minimum, Tabares wrote on June 22 to 38th Ward Ald. Nick Sposato, who chairs the City Council’s Committee on Special Events, Cultural Affairs and Recreation. “Most of these events take place during the summer months, when crime and homicides are at their highest rates. Some of these events use hundreds of officers who are detailed from districts across the city.”

Also, Tabares wrote, CPD is experiencing a “severe staffing shortage. There are not enough officers to staff our neighborhood beats, let alone provide the needed coverage for special events to ensure the safety of attendees. In a futile attempt to close the gap, the city has cancelled Regular Days Off (RDOs), resulting in some officers working 20 days in a row.”

The alderman called relying on cancelled RDOs “misguided and dangerous” and “an abuse to officers and their families.”

She also said city government should “force [event] organizers to pay for 100% private security. Cancelled RDOs should be reserved for public emergencies, not music festivals and street parades.”

Sposato has not yet responded to Tabares’ request.

On social media, CPD officers and their families reacted swiftly to Tabares’ idea.

“Thank you Alderman,” one officer wrote. “Police are at our wits’ end, and so are our wives and children. We are all suffering immensely. It’s going on three-plus years already with no signs of stopping or changing.”

Others urged Tabares to run for mayor in 2023.

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Tabares (in safety vest) has been a consistent supporter of law enforcement since becoming alderman in 2018, and before that as a state representative. –Supplied photo

One officer said Chicagoans “should try to imagine themselves in our shoes. You work a job that’s highly stressful and dangerous, a job where you see the worst side of human nature every day. Now imagine you have scheduled days off where you can decompress, relax and prepare yourself to go back into that stressful situation. Now imagine those important days off—which you’ve earned, by the way—get cancelled routinely by a boss who couldn’t give a damn about you or your family. Imagine that, and you start to get a sense of what we deal with.”

The officer added that sometimes, “people will say, ‘Hey, you signed up for this.If you don’t like it, quit and let someone else have your job.’ My answer is, where are these people who want my job? They’re not there. What used to be a steady stream of new recruits in the police academy has slowed to barely a trickle, so that now, retirement and resignations are outpacing new officers.”

Tabares concluded, “We owe it to our officers and their families to ensure we are respecting their time and taking every step to not abuse their time or pull people from their beats.”

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