CHICAGO – State Senator Bill Cunningham and State Representative Fran Hurley introduced legislation to legally require the city of Chicago to give police officers a minimum of one day off each week. The proposal is designed to end the city’s practice of routinely canceling officer’s regularly-scheduled days off to make up for chronic staffing shortages.
“The Chicago Police Department has approximately 1,500 fewer officer than it is budgeted for,” said Hurley. “The way to fix this problem is to hire more officers, not cancel scheduled days off for existing officers and force them to work 12 or 13 days in a row without relief.”
“Canceling days off might make sense on a temporary basis during an emergency situation, but it has become a routine staffing policy for CPD and part of misguided crime-fighting strategy,” said Cunningham. “It is not only grossly unfair to officers and their families, it produces a fatigued and burned out police force that is less effective at fighting crime.”
The legislation, House Bill 5768 and Senate Bill 4218, amends the state’s existing “One Day Rest in Seven Act,” which requires employers to provide at least one period of 24 hours rest each calendar week. The act does not currently apply to law enforcement, but will if either bill becomes law.
“Both the state and city of Chicago have enacted laws in recent years to extend worker rights by cracking down on employers who unfairly take advantage of their work force,” Hurley said. “There’s no reason why the city should be exempt from those laws.”
The new legislation builds on work Cunningham and Hurley have previously done to address mental health concerns often faced by police officers, including the establishment of the Illinois First Responders Suicide Prevention Task Force.