Chicago cops could deny excessive hours under proposed order – NBC Chicago

As the police department faces a mental health crisis, Ald. Anthony Napolitano is pushing an order that would give Chicago cops advance notice of their schedules, allow them to refuse excessive overtime and offer a pay raise for those who agree.

After a spate of officer suicides, criticism of the department’s practice of canceling days off has come under scrutiny.

Napolitano (41st) plans to present his proposal at Wednesday’s city council meeting in hopes it can “relieve” exhausted cops. Before the meeting, he and four of his colleagues hold a press conference with relatives of deceased officers to demand hearings into the mental health issues facing the police.

“We have 20 suicides in four years,” including three this month, he said. “This is not a cry for help. It’s a flagrant alarm that goes off.

In 23 years with the city, Napolitano said he had never seen such “utter disregard for a department and a workforce.”

Under his proposal, an officer could decline “any previously unscheduled time,” including proposed canceled days off and extended shifts of more than two hours. If an officer has more than two hours added to a scheduled shift or has to work in a new location, they would be paid double time for each shift in addition to regular overtime.

Officers would also have the “right to refuse” working hours that occur less than 12 hours after the end of their previous shift. If they accepted, they would be paid twice their normal rate.

These requirements would not apply if the city faces a utility outage, a natural disaster, or an event that “would cause a clear and present danger,” such as civil unrest. Shift trades, mutually agreed schedule changes and changes for disciplinary reasons would also not be affected, the order says.

If the department needs to work extra shifts, they would first be offered to cops who are “qualified to perform the extra work,” according to the order. The distribution of overtime cannot be discriminatory and must be distributed according to “qualifications, grade, seniority” and any collective agreements accompanied by remuneration at the double rate.

Retaliation against officers exercising their new rights, including termination and punitive schedule changes, would be prohibited and subject to a $10,000 fine. The department would also be subject to a fine of up to $2,000 per day for each violation of the order – a sum that would go directly to the officer concerned.

Additionally, officers could even file class action lawsuits for alleged violations.

What does Napolitano want from a Chicago police department with nearly 2,000 vacancies if it doesn’t have enough officers to protect the city?

“We’re at critical mass right now,” he said. “If you can’t properly protect this city with the manpower you have without increasing their working hours, you have to get out of the city of Chicago.

“You have to go to the county and the federal government and ask them for help. You cannot put it on a department that you have deliberately depleted for funding purposes. They demonized the police. We can’t get anyone to accept this job.

Police spokespersons did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

If the city council approves the order, the police department will also be obligated to provide the necessary crime statistics to justify the cancellation of the days off.

“You’re going to see officers who need rest decline and rest,” Napolitano said. “They will be able to hug their family, bring their children back to school and have time to breathe and come to their senses. And when they are rejuvenated, they will jump in addition to taking overtime for the extra pay and allow another group to rest. It’s there for them to fix it.

NBC Chicago

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