(The Center Square) – With the promise of no vaccine mandate and lower property taxes, Indiana officials are trying to lure jilted police officers from Illinois.
Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot announced a vaccine mandate for police in August. They must show their vaccination status or take the option of testing on their own time and dime. If they don’t, they can be placed on “no pay” status.
Indiana Republican Sen. Mike Braun tweeted that his office is ready to help connect police officers to an Indiana department that is hiring now.
“If you are in a place that has to put up with a heavy-handed government that’s free and easy with mandates and its either our way or the highway, I think there will be consequences, people will make decisions that maybe change where they live,” Braun said.
Indiana State Police Sgt. Glen Fifield also took to Twitter to encourage Chicago police officers to apply to join his agency.
“This presented an opportunity just because of what is going on over there, and if there are officers that are not getting paid, we pay our officers so if you are looking to stay in law enforcement, this is an option for you,” Fifield said.
A spokesman for an Indiana police union said at least 39 police agencies are hiring. Earlier this year, Indiana’s General Assembly passed a law banning state and local governments from issuing or requiring a vaccine passport for COVID-19.
FOP president John Catanzara said last week that there might be a “lot less officers on the street” in the city of Chicago enforces its COVID policies.
Several suburban counties surrounding Chicago said their police departments will not help police the city should officers be taken off the job over the mandate issue.
“I will not send my personnel to Chicago unless an officer is under direct duress because I cannot support this slanted agenda,” Hain said in a statement posted on the department’s Facebook page.
If Illinois police officers flee to Indiana, the average cost to train a replacement is $6,700 in Illinois, according to Policeapp.com. The tuition for police recruits is reimbursed by the Illinois Law Enforcement Training and Standards Board. The money comes from the Illinois Traffic Surcharge Fund.
A group of Republican lawmakers has introduced legislative proposals called “Fund the Police Act,” a response to advocates who call for defunding the police after the killing of George Floyd last summer. The package calls for $100 million in funding for police training, overtime and retention incentives. They hope to take up the measures this week during the veto session.