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Chicago Police Department says officers who don’t adhere to vaccination policy could be fired

The Chicago Police Department is restricting time off amid a dispute between the police union and the city on Chicago's COVID-19 vaccine requirement. (Jasper Colt/USA Today Network)

(CNN) — Chicago police officers could be fired for not complying with the city’s vaccination policy, according to a memo.

The memo states any civilian or sworn employee who disobeys a direct order to comply with the city’s vaccination policy “will become the subject of a disciplinary investigation that could result in a penalty up to and including separation from the Chicago Police Department. Furthermore, sworn members who retire while under disciplinary investigations may be denied retirement credentials.”

A separate memo issued Saturday informed officers their elective time off would be restricted.

“Until further notice, the use of elective time by sworn CPD members is restricted. Furthermore, the use of elective time will require prior approval from the Deputy chief or above within the requesting member’s chain of command,” the memo said.

The memos were issued as the police union and Mayor Lori Lightfoot clash over the city’s requirement that city employees be vaccinated and disclose their vaccine status. The deadline to do so was Friday. Up to half of Chicago’s rank-and-file police officers could face discipline.

Chicago Fraternal Order of Police President John Catanzara has spoken out against the mandate to report vaccine status, telling officers they are not required to comply, and the police department has its own COVID-19 policy.

“If we suspect the numbers are true, and we get a large number of our members who stand firm on their beliefs that this is an overreach, and they’re not going to supply the information in the portal or submit to testing, then it’s safe to say the city of Chicago will have a police force at 50% or less for this weekend coming up,” Catanzara said last week.

“That is not because of the FOP; that is 100% because of the mayor’s unwillingness to budge from her hard line. So whatever happens because of the manpower issue, that falls at the mayor’s doorstep.”

Lightfoot said Friday the city would take the weekend to check with officers who have not complied.

COVID-19 is the leading cause of death for officers across the country, according to the Officer Down Memorial page.

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