The Chicago Police Department plans to have officers move from 8-1/2 to 12-hour shifts when the jury in the trial of CPD officer Jason Van Dyke begins deliberating.
CPD also plans to cancel officers’ planned time off, including weekend days, according to Chicago Ald. Nicholas Sposato, whose Northwest Side 38th Ward is home to many police officers.
Sposato also said groups of officers will gather at Humboldt Park and Guaranteed Rate Field in case they are needed to quickly respond to a crisis.
Chicago firefighters have also reportedly been instructed to bring their gear home every night until the trial is over.
Chicago Police Department spokesperson Anthony Guglielmi said he would not comment on the specifics of the department’s plan. Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson has previously said he is prepared to extend officers’ shifts, but didn’t offer details.
Sposato, a former firefighter, said he was briefed on the deployment by a “high-ranking official” in the police department.
The alderman said the ramped-up staffing “has to be done.”
"I'm very concerned for my police officers,” Sposato said. “Of course it will cost a ton in [overtime], but we can't afford another Ferguson and let [protesters] burn down the city."
Sposato said he’s concerned about “anarchist” protesters from out of town and criticized Rev. Michael Pfleger and other community leaders for not doing enough to urge the public to remain calm.
In a social-media posting Monday, Pfleger called for a “complete shutdown … to send an economic message of outrage” if Van Dyke is cleared in the fatal 2014 shooting of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald.
“Several of us are in agreement that when the Van Dyke verdict comes down, that if it is anything less than a conviction, the next day Chicago should SHUT DOWN,” Pfleger tweeted. “NO ONE SHOULD GO TO SCHOOL, WORK, ANY STORES.”
Pfleger did not immediately return a request for comment.