The Illinois Law Enforcement Alarm System (ILEAS) has requested suburban police departments to send deputies to help Chicago respond to the city’s emergencies. Still, some sheriff departments have refused the request, blaming Mayor Lori Lightfoot for how she treats police.
DuPage County Sheriff James Mendrick and Kendall County Sheriff Dwight Baird said earlier this week that they would not respond if Chicago is short-staffed because it has suspended officers due to Lightfoot’s COVID-19 vaccination policy. Adding they would only send their deputies to help the Chicago Police Department if the city’s officers are in distress or under duress, Daily Herald reported.
“It’s like a preplanned police shortage,” Mendrick said, referring to the potential shortage caused by Lightfoot’s vaccine mandate.
Under the Chicago mayor’s order, the officers who do not obey her mandate can be suspended after Oct. 15. However, as of Monday, Oct. 17, only 64% of police had reported their status.
On Monday, one leader at ILEAS sent emails to 13 suburban police departments, asking them about their availability to aid Chicago in an emergency.
Mendrick, whose department has 12 vacancies, said that the usual calls for assistance involve SWAT teams, patrol officers, search dogs, drone teams, and other help.
“The lack of logic is the thing that astounds me,” the sheriff said.
According to the Police Tribune, Kendall County’s Sherrif Baird also declined to send his deputies to Chicago, saying he is particularly concerned about them being investigated by Cook County State State’s Attorney Kim Foxx if anything should occur.
“It sounds like Mayor Lightfoot is creating her own emergency with the decisions she’s making with her police force and I don’t feel that ILEAS assistance in this situation would be warranted,” Baird said. “I would help an officer out if they were distressed. But she’s bringing this upon herself.”
Kane County’s Sheriff Ron Hain also refused to honor the ILEAS’s request.
“ILEAS typically responds to emergency situations where there is no opportunity for planning,” Hain said on Tuesday. “This situation to me is much different.”
The sheriff explained that Chicago had not supported its police officers, “so now they are bleeding that out to us. This is all begotten by a lack of planning and support of the Chicago Police Department.”
Hain also said he is concerned that his officers might be subject to a different standard of review by the Cook County state’s attorney because the Chicago department is operating under a federal consent decree requiring reform of the department’s abuses.
“I believe the polarization between the community and police is only reinforced by current Chicago politics. Therefore, I will not send my personnel to Chicago unless an officer is under direct duress because I cannot support this slanted agenda,” said Hain in a statement shared by Daily Wire.
“I also will not allow my deputies to be subjected to use force in the city and be under the prosecutorial jurisdiction of the Cook County State’s Attorney. The Chicago Police Department has a dedicated force of professional humans who deserve all of the support the nation can offer,” he said.
Hain added, “The solution is simple; allow Chicago Police to be the police, support their human resources, and operate treatment and vocational support programs led by people in uniform. This is how Chicago can halt crime and build bridges with the community like we’ve done here in Kane.”
According to Daily Wire, Chicago city is bracing itself for a police shortage after Lightfoot has stripped 21 officers of their police powers.