Chicago Police Union President Blames Mayor For Spike in Police Retirements

Chicago mayor Lori Lightfoot (D.) / Getty Images
August 18, 2020

A Chicago police union president is blaming Mayor Lori Lightfoot (D.) for the recent surge in retirements from the city’s police force, the Chicago Sun-Times reported.

"Who wants to stay in this environment? If you have the ability to leave, there is no incentive to stay anymore," police union president John Catanzara told the Sun-Times. "The mayor doesn’t back us."

Fifty-nine officers will retire by the end of the month, and another 51 plan to retire by the end of September—a rate that’s "unheard of," according to Michael Lappe, vice president of the board of trustees for the Chicago police pension fund. On average, just 24 officers retire from the force each month, less than half of the current rate, Lappe said.

The retirement surge follows a summer of anti-police protests—many of which devolved into violent riots and looting—in Chicago and other major cities across the country. Last week looters swarmed Chicago's Magnificent Mile and caused millions of dollars' worth of damages and stolen merchandise in the city's famous shopping district. Thirteen officers were injured while responding to the incident.

Catanzara—who in recent weeks has sparred with Lightfoot over her approach to police reform—said the uptick in retirements is likely to continue, leaving the city short on officers.

Though Lightfoot does not support defunding the police, the mayor continues to lead conversations on police reform with other mayors across the country. She’s developed a plan for police reform that implements a "co-responders" model, in which non-police officials will respond to some emergency calls—especially in minority communities. Anti-police protests began in late May following the death of George Floyd in police custody.