Chicago emergency support request sparks sharp response from police group as defunding, mandates take toll

The police union accused Chicago's mayor of playing political games

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The National Fraternal Order of Police issued a blistering statement in response to a report that Illinois Law Enforcement Alarm System (ILEAS) sent an email to suburban police officers seeking information on how many officers would be available to assist Chicago in the event of an emergency.

"The devolving situation in Chicago and the very real threat to public safety in the city has been entirely manufactured and unnecessarily escalated by Mayor Lori Lightfoot. Now she is searching for a way out of this mess and insists that ‘contingency plans’ are in place," the statement issued on Wednesday said. "The truth is her recent call for help through the Illinois Law Enforcement Alarm System (ILEAS), a system designed to help agencies respond to emergency situations that may overwhelm responding agencies, has been met with considerable skepticism and rejection by at least two nearby agencies. This emergency system is for emergencies and is not intended for instances where a mayor or agency suspends or fires a large number of their own police force."

ILLINOIS SUBURBAN POLICE ASKED TO HELP CHICAGO IF NEEDED AMID POSSIBLE CITY OFFICER SHORTAGE: REPORT

Illinois suburban police are being asked to volunteer and help Chicago in the event of an emergency, according to a report earlier this week.

Chicago Police Superintendent David Brown addresses reporters about a suspect in the killing of a 7-year-old girl earlier this year. A 14-year-old girl was shot in the head Wednesday night after being chased by gang members, officials said. 

Chicago Police Superintendent David Brown addresses reporters about a suspect in the killing of a 7-year-old girl earlier this year. A 14-year-old girl was shot in the head Wednesday night after being chased by gang members, officials said.  (Chicago Police Department)

A coordinator from the Illinois Law Enforcement Alarm System (ILEAS) sent an email to a dozen police officials across the state requesting they ask members of their specialized units whether they could respond to dangerous situations in Chicago, and how fast they could get there, Chicago's WGN-TV reported. 

"To be clear, if members of the ILEAS Special Teams programs are requested, it would be for emergency situations, NOT for routine police assistance and the answering of calls for service within the city limits. Illinois State Police and Cook County Sheriff’s Office would be tasked with the patrol needs," the email read.

While the Cook County Sheriff’s department already works with Chicago police in helping certain neighborhoods with high crime, other suburban departments told WGN-TV they weren't ready to answer the call.

SEN. BRAUN WELCOMES CHICAGO POLICE OFFICERS REFUSING VACCINE MANDATE TO INDIANA: ‘YOU DESERVE RESPECT’

"I will not send my personnel to Chicago unless an officer is under direct duress because I cannot support this slanted agenda," said Kane County Sheriff Ron Hain. "I also will not allow my deputies to be subjected to use of force in the City and be under the prosecutorial jurisdiction of the Cook County State’s Attorney."

Jim Page, Executive Director of ILEAS, told Fox News that Mayor Lightfoot's office never requested more officers to the city from the suburbs.

"Chicago never asked ILEAS or any suburban agency for help," Page said. "That never happened."

Page says that he is the one who sent the original email to regional commanders in the suburban area and he was simply asking how many officers could respond if a disaster such as a terrorist attack occurs. 

"That's what we do we plan for potential emergencies, being short of people is not an emergency pursuant to the law," he said, adding that the situation between police and the mayor's office has become a "political football."

"The only fact that matters," Page added. "Is that Chicago, Lori Lightfoot, and Superintendent Brown did not ask for help. We were prepping for a disaster."

The email comes after the administration of Mayor Lori Lightfoot required that city workers report their COVID-19 vaccination status or be placed on unpaid leave, setting a deadline for this past Friday. 

As of Monday, just under 65% of Chicago Police Department personnel reported their vaccination status through the city’s online portal, according to FOX 32 Chicago. 

"The city of Chicago is served by some of the finest men and women in uniform. They are dedicated and committed to keeping the citizens of Chicago safe," the statement from the police union added. "Instead of working cooperatively with police personnel or engaging with the labor union, Mayor Lightfoot mandated that all officers must receive one of the available vaccines for COVID-19 or face potential termination. She has left no room for compromise, and her ultimatum could force a significant number of officers off the streets."

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Chicago mayor Lori Lightfoot speaks during the groundbreaking ceremony for the Obama Presidential Center at Jackson Park on September 28, 2021 in Chicago, Illinois. - The 700-million-dollar project has been six years in the making and the center is scheduled to open in 2025. (Photo by Kamil Krzaczynski / AFP) (Photo by KAMIL KRZACZYNSKI/AFP via Getty Images)

Chicago mayor Lori Lightfoot speaks during the groundbreaking ceremony for the Obama Presidential Center at Jackson Park on September 28, 2021 in Chicago, Illinois. - The 700-million-dollar project has been six years in the making and the center is scheduled to open in 2025. (Photo by Kamil Krzaczynski / AFP) (Photo by KAMIL KRZACZYNSKI/AFP via Getty Images) (Photo by KAMIL KRZACZYNSKI/AFP via Getty Images)

The National FOP explained that some law enforcement officers are "reluctant to get vaccinated for reasons that are entirely their own" and that "we do not and cannot support forcing our members to undergo a medical procedure against their will without any regard for their rights as public employees or providing them with even the most basic due process."

The statement then called out Lightfoot by name again saying, "Mayor Lightfoot seems to think that her game of brinksmanship is an acceptable risk to the citizens of the city. She was counting on other agencies and ILEAS to respond to incidents in the city in the event that the Chicago Police Department could not. In fact, as far as we know, her call for help is not restricted to officers who have been vaccinated—setting up a potentially ridiculous situation in which she has suspended unvaccinated Chicago police officers only to replace them with unvaccinated officers from other jurisdictions. Clearly, her position has nothing to do with the public’s safety or health policy and everything to do with ‘winning’ the political game against the union."

The National FOP closed the statement by saying that "Mayor Lightfoot should not use the safety of Chicago citizens as a pawn in her political game" and called on her to engage with officers while also respecting their rights.

Lightfoot’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Fox News.

Crime has continued to plague the nation's third largest city highlighted by 39 shootings last weekend alone.

CHICAGO, ILLINOIS - OCTOBER 20: Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot speaks at a Chicago Police Department promotion and graduation ceremony on October 20, 2021 in Chicago, Illinois. The mayor has been sparring with the union that represents Chicago police after the city ordered police to state their COVID-19 vaccination status. With only about 65 percent of the city's police in compliance the city has started to place those who have not on unpaid leave.  (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

CHICAGO, ILLINOIS - OCTOBER 20: Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot speaks at a Chicago Police Department promotion and graduation ceremony on October 20, 2021 in Chicago, Illinois. The mayor has been sparring with the union that represents Chicago police after the city ordered police to state their COVID-19 vaccination status. With only about 65 percent of the city's police in compliance the city has started to place those who have not on unpaid leave.  (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

Chicago has seen some 1,400 carjacking victims in Chicago and elsewhere in Cook County so far this year, which include many people who’ve been shot in the face or elsewhere by offenders looking to oust them from their vehicles, the Chicago Sun Times reported. Through the end of September, there were 43.5% more carjacking incidents across Cook County compared to the same time last year. 

Fox News’ David Aaro and Danielle Wallace contributed to this report