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Advisory Regarding the Chicago Fire Department’s Management and Enforcement of Protocols for Missing or Stolen Badges

Report Details

Report Description: 
OIG reviewed Chicago Police Department (CPD) reports of Chicago Fire Department (CFD) badges purportedly lost or stolen from January 1, 2015, through June 30, 2020. Overall, 340 CFD members reported their badges stolen or lost to CPD during this period. Approximately, 79.7% of the reports––271 of the total 340––came from retiring CFD members. Approximately, 22.6% of all retiring members who reported their badges stolen or missing to CPD did so within 6 months prior to retirement. This pattern of a large number of badges reported lost or stolen, as CFD members retire, suggests a number of possible causes, including: 1) that CFD members are committing theft of City property (badges), filing false police reports to cover up the theft, and thereby enabling themselves to retain their CFD badges upon retirement (which since 2018 they are able to replace at a cost lower than the cost of purchasing a retirement badge), or 2) that CFD members may be misplacing their badges and not reporting them missing or stolen until it is time to return the badges to CFD at retirement. Both scenarios constitute control and misconduct concerns. Theft of City property and filing false police reports are crimes. Failing to immediately report a missing or stolen CFD badge is a violation of CFD general orders and the City of Chicago Personnel Rules. Failure to properly account for the CFD badges is a control risk concern. CFD badges designate the holder as having official authority conferred by the City. The purpose of the badge ends when the holder leaves CFD or retires. The current retirement process allows individuals to hold onto official CFD badges through false and fraudulent pretenses, permitting former CFD members to retain these indicia of authority even after leaving City service. Further, CFD has no control over what happens to these “lost” or “stolen” badges, including whether the former CFD member gives the badge to another person.
Date Issued: 
Tuesday, November 16, 2021
Agency Reviewed / Investigated: 
Chicago, IL
United States
Type of Report: 
Advisory Reports
Professional Standard: 

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