‘You’re like a zombie’: Mass exodus of cops from Chicago PD because of burnout, targeting of police

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CHICAGO, IL – Many officers with the Chicago Police Department have left over the course of the last few years, and those that are left behind have been forced to take on the extra workload which is creating a significant issue in terms of burnout.

Officers with the Chicago Police Department are not only facing a significant staffing shortage, but they are also fighting against officers who have been working forced overtime and having their vacations canceled becoming burned out.

While burnout is dangerous in any profession, it is significantly more dangerous when a police officer faces the complacency that tends to come with that condition.

Burnout can cause various issues, ranging from not really listening to what someone is saying to officers quitting because they have had enough. CBS spoke to a former police officer who left the profession, in part, because she was burned out.

Former Police Officer Amy Hurley became a Chicago Police Officer when she was 25, a profession she was called to when she was younger. Hurley believed that she would put in a full thirty years and collect a full pension after serving the people in Chicago, however, that changed and she left the career early and took a $65,000 pay cut to become a teacher.

Hurley’s decision came after she realized the cost of working constant overtime which left her feeling like a “zombie.” She said:

“It was like Groundhog Day, You’d go to work, you’d be there 12-plus hours. You’d come home, you’d sleep, you’d eat, you’d do it again.”

That constant work and the stress that comes with it caused her to no longer feel connected to her wife and two young children. She said:

“You’re like a zombie. You’re not even coherent. You’re kind of just going through motions.”

Hurley’s departure was due to the stress caused by having forced overtime and several different reorganizations made by the police department. Hurley said:

“I gave up a full pension. I gave up a nice paycheck. I gave up insurance and pretty much almost everything that I loved once. I gave that up for something else.”

Hurley is one of the thousands that have left the Chicago Police Department either through retiring or simply quitting and moving on to another agency or like her, another profession. The shortage of police officers has caused the Chicago Police Department to work overtime in recruiting officers to replace those that have left.

Chicago Police Department Superintendent David Brown has noted the staffing shortage but has lauded the successful recruitment efforts of his agency, but also notes the agency is significantly behind in terms of replacing the number of officers who have left the agency since 2019. Brown noted that by saying:

“Obviously, we’re quite challenged with a backlog with vacancies of about 1,400 [officers]. But we have these last several months made a significant stride in hiring Chicago Police Officers.”

Until Brown and the Chicago Police Department can fill the vacancies in the agency, burnout for the officers will remain a real concern, something that Chicago FOP President John Catanzara noted when he spoke to the Chicago Tribune:

“Fact: cops are burnt out, they are not getting that needed time off, and they absolutely don’t have enough support from this mayor or superintendent. Period.”

After initially denying that officers were working up to eleven days straight without a day off, Democratic Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot and Brown implemented a policy that requires police officers’ time off. On August 29th, Lightfoot said:

“We know that we’ve got to make sure that there is a process by which officers have time off. Tired, emotionally wrought officers is not good for them, not good for their families, and not good, frankly, for the community members they’re serving.”

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Welcome to police-defunded Chicago: Postal workers being robbed for ‘master keys’ for residential, commercial properties

As if the people of Chicago don’t already have enough to worry about.

The robbers are targeting the postal workers’ keys, not cash or personal property. The keys control many lock boxes that contain the mail of numerous properties, both residential and commercial.

With a set of keys, criminals can gain access to multiple, sometimes even dozens of mailboxes in one swift move.

The keys can also gain access to the blue mailboxes located throughout communities.

There is a growing concern among the postal worker community in Chicago- and rightly so.

In an interview of a postal union official, Mack Julion, president of the National Association of Letter Carriers, stated:

“They’re traumatized. I mean,they’re out there doing their job. You’re at work delivering the mail, and someone comes up and sticks a gun to you for some Arrow keys.”

He continued:

“It really will impede mail service, because if our carriers are not feeling safe, they’re not going to deliver the mail.”

Welcome to police-defunded Chicago: Postal workers being robbed for 'master keys' for residential, commercial properties
Screenshot of ABC 7 Chicago YouTube channel

There have been 5 reported gun point robberies of postal carriers since August. There has been no end in sight as no one has been arrested for any of the robberies.

It is also unclear whether it is one individual, a team of individuals or completely unrelated persons committing the brazen robberies.

Worse yet, there is growing concern that this is becoming a trend and encouraging other criminals to jump on the band wagon.

Julion, the union president, feels it is a growing problem and he wants it to stop now, especially considering that half of the carriers are females.

He stated to the press:

“It’s more than just one person, it’s becoming widespread.”

He continued:

“‘So these young sisters are out there delivering the mail and you’re sticking a gun to them asking for some arrow keys. How brave is that? But you know, it needs to stop. And if it don’t stop, there’s going to be instances where people are not receiving their mail,’ Julion said.”

Welcome to police-defunded Chicago: Postal workers being robbed for 'master keys' for residential, commercial properties
Union official Julion speaks with media. Screenshot of ABC7 Chicago YouTube channe

18th Ward Alderman Derrick Curtis and Julion are working together to introduce new legislation.

They intend to introduce law that will require all multi-box units be located indoors, inside a secured area. They hope that will reduce the likelihood that carriers will be robbed at gunpoint and give them the added comfort of knowing they can work in a safer environment.

Alderman Curtis, told local media and stated that:

“Anything that I can do or we can do as a whole, I’m willing to help.”

Interfering with a postal carrier is a federal crime and carries severe penalties. Chicago police are still investigating the robberies and hope to catch the suspect (or suspects) very soon- and hopefully before any postal workers gets hurt or worse, killed.

The Chicago Crime Problem

Chicago has been rife with crime and criminal activity in recent years. They, like several liberal cities across the nation, have adopted extreme soft on crime policies and introduced bail reform.

There have been countless instances where a suspect was arrested, charged with a serious crime and, due to new bail reform laws, have been quickly released, only to commit another crime shortly thereafter.

Chicago Police
screen shot taken from:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y-KmlSnExnQ

In one recent instance, a man was arrested in four times in one 24-hour period. It wasn’t until the final arrest that police discovered that the suspect was wanted for pushing a passenger onto a subway platform early that morning.

Another recent Chicago incident found a man to have been arrested 15 times since the start of the year. In every case, the man was quickly released, and no lesson was learned.

Whoever is robbing innocent postal carriers at gun point is likely emboldened by the current laws and the soft on crime policies. They know that when they get caught, and they will, there’s a solid chance they will be quickly released, and the revolving door will keep turning.

LET will update this story as the investigation progresses. Stay tuned.

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