Chicago's next mayor will be progressive Brandon Johnson, and when he takes office in May, officers may leave in droves, says the city's police union.
In a Facebook post on March 28, the police union said that if Johnson won, there would be a "major exodus" from a group of 2,900 officers with either 20 years of service or those who are above the age of 50, Newsweek reports.
"Many of those officers are only sticking around with the hope this department can be turned around," the union wrote. "If we do not get Paul Vallas elected, there WILL be a major exodus from that group who will not work for a bigger anti-police mayor than the current one."
The police department is "already down nearly two thousand officers," the union added. "We cannot sustain a mass exodus of manpower. Our pension fund cannot handle that exodus either longterm." It concluded that voters had seven days to "save the city."
Despite the union's warning Johnson defeated Vallas 51% to 49%.
Vallas' campaign focused on the city's crime problem and he promised to hire hundreds of officers. He was backed by Chicago's Lodge 7 Fraternal Order of Police.
Johnson, a Cook County Commissioner and a Teachers Union organizer, advocated defunding police in 2020. The Chicago Sun-Times reports Johnson said on March 27 that he will not cut “one penny” from CPD’s budget.
Johnson told the Sun-Times and WBEZ in a January survey he would push for more efficient use of money and resources in the CPD budget as mayor.
The cornerstone of Johnson’s anti-violence program has been investing in youth, communities and mental health resources, the Sun-Times says. According to his website, Johnson also plans to expand police accountability and improve resources for victims and survivors of violence.
Johnson has also expressed concern over high suicide rates among police officers.
“We need to invest in expanded and better mental health resources for all our public safety personnel,” Johnson told the Sun-Times and WBEZ.