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Mayor Lori Lightfoot Confirms Tentative Agreement On New 8-Year Police Contract With Chicago FOP

CHICAGO (CBS) -- Mayor Lori Lightfoot and the Chicago Fraternal Order of Police have reached a tentative eight-year contract agreement that, if ratified by the union and approved the City Council, would provide officers with a 20% pay raise over the life of the deal, while also requiring a number of police accountability reforms.

The pay raises will include more than four years of retroactive pay, as rank-and-file officers have gone without raises since the city's previous contract with the FOP expired on June 30, 2017.

It's the first time Lightfoot has acknowledged a tentative deal with the union representing rank-and-file officers since Chicago FOP President John Catanzara announced more than two weeks ago that the two sides had reached an agreement.

Asked how the city expects to pay for the cost of the contract -- reportedly tabbed at $600 million for more than four years of retroactive pay alone -- Lightfoot said the city's budget team has been planning ahead for police pay raises since the last contract expired, and the city has set aside money every year to pay for those raises.

"We feel prepared to manage the expense that will be occurred, and we can give you more details later," Lightfoot said Monday afternoon.

In addition to the pay raises for officers, Lightfoot's office said the contract also includes a number of changes to the process for investigating claims of police misconduct, including an end to the 40-year ban on investigating anonymous complaints filed against officers.

The contract would also would eliminate a requirement to destroy police disciplinary records after five years, in light of an Illinois Supreme Court ruling last year that destroying those documents would violate that state's public records law.

According to the mayor's office, other reforms include:

  • Allowing the City to broaden its use of police disciplinary records in cases involving police misconduct, including verbal abuse, mirroring the PBPA agreement;
  • An end to allowing officers to change their testimony after viewing video;
  • The elimination of affidavits and an expedited process ("override") for anonymous complaints where the complainant doesn't want to be identified;
  • Recognition in the CBA [collective bargaining agreement] that officers who report potential misconduct are acting in the highest traditions of public service, and a removal of the previous "ban" on rewarding/recognizing officers who report misconduct;
  • Investigatory agencies must advise every individual being interviewed that they need to be truthful.

"The City and the FOP will, however, continue to negotiate over additional accountability and operational proposals, and if agreement cannot be reached may proceed to interest arbitration to resolve such outstanding items," Lightfoot's office said.

FOP officials announced on Twitter on Monday that the union will be mailing contract ratification ballots to all rank-and-file officers this week.

"Your vote matters, so we ask every member to fill out the ballot and promptly return it," the union stated.

While Lightfoot said she is pleased the city has reached a tentative agreement with the FOP on a new police contract, she said it shouldn't have taken so long to reach a deal, and pointed the finger squarely at union President John Catanzara for refusing to negotiate seriously sooner on issues of police accountability.

"I shouldn't have walked into office with a contract that was already two years expired. It shouldn't have taken us two more years to get it done because we had an FOP leadership that was refusing – literally refusing – to get to the table. And I told them over and over again 'We're not going to talk about  money unless we talk about accountability,'" she said. "And so I'm happy with the progress that we've made on reform and accountability, and I think those are the topline features. We built into the contract some other resources to help support our men and women around health and wellness. But it shouldn't have taken another two years, and really we got it done in a matter of weeks when the president of FOP finally got serious about getting something done. This could have been something that we did a year ago."

Catanzara did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the mayor's criticism.

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