Weather Updates

Cops from as far as Philly, Carolina to help with NATO

Updated: June 16, 2012 8:16AM

Police officers from Philadelphia, Milwaukee and Charlotte-Mecklenburg, N.C.; will assist the Chicago Police Department in handling thousands of protesters expected to descend on Chicago for this weekend’s NATO summit.

The out-of-state officers will join as many as 700 troopers from the Illinois State Police and dozens of suburban officers in providing an unprecedented show of force aimed at preventing demonstrations from turning ugly.

Milwaukee is sending 100 officers, to assist an estimated 3,100 Chicago Police officers assigned to NATO duty, according to Anne Schwartz, a spokeswoman for the Milwaukee Police Department.

The Philadelphia contingent will be 68 officers strong, a spokesman there said. Philadelphia Police Chief Charles Ramsey, a former deputy police superintendent in Chicago, was Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s first choice for the job that ultimately went to Garry McCarthy.

Officials at the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department could not be reached for comment.

Charlotte-Mecklenburg makes sense because Charlotte will host the Sept. 3-6 Democratic National Convention. The NATO Summit is a “National Special Security event,” a designation normally reserved for the Olympics, the Super Bowl and the Democratic and Republican National Conventions.

Chicago Police Department spokeswoman Melissa Stratton refused to reveal the size of the out-of-state contingent, nor would she say why those cities and not others were chosen to assist Chicago.

She would only say, “Out-of-state law enforcement agencies include Charlotte-Mecklenburg, Milwaukee and Philadelphia. They’ll be providing support in the field. All out-of-state personnel will be working under the command of the Chicago Police Department and under [the city’s] rules and regulations.”

Stratton noted that utilizing out-of-state officers is “not unusual for a National Special Security Event. ... In 2009, when Pittsburgh hosted the G-20 Summit, we sent personnel to assist the Pittsburgh Police Department. We also provided support during President Obama’s inauguration in Washington, D.C.”

The Chicago Sun-Times reported last month that as many as 500 troopers from the Illinois State Police — nearly 40 percent of the statewide total — would assist Chicago Police during the NATO summit.

On Monday, sources said the State Police contingent could top 700, raising even more questions about how the State Police would be able to juggle their other responsibilities to patrol state expressways and tollways and perform other emergency functions.

Neither Stratton nor State Police spokeswoman Monique Bond would provide specific numbers, citing security concerns. But, Stratton said, “The Illinois State Police will provide motorcade support and assistance in the field and at command posts. The Illinois Law Enforcement Alarm System [comprised of suburban police departments] will also provide assistance in the field and a minor motorcade roll at O’Hare Airport.”

Before the G-8 was moved to Camp David, McCarthy was talking about seeking roughly 850 reinforcements to assist his officers, some 1,200 of whom are expected to be dressed in full riot gear knowing internally as “turtle suits.”

Together, the contingents from Philadelphia, Milwaukee, Charlotte-Mecklenburg, the Illinois State Police and suburban departments should top that number, sources said.

McCarthy once served as operations chief for the New York City Police Department, which has extensive experience in crowd control, civil unrest and protection of visiting dignitaries.

It was not immediately clear why McCarthy was hesitant to ask for help from the NYPD.

Also on Monday, the Cook County Sheriff’s office disclosed plans to detain those arrested for serious offenses during the summit at Cook County Jail.

Sheriff Tom Dart’s first choice was the Joliet Correctional Center, mothballed for a decade, but those plans were apparently nixed by the state.

“As you are aware our capacity fluctuates daily. We [now] have room here at the jail,” Frank Bilecki, the sheriff’s spokesman said.

© 2014 Sun-Times Media, LLC. All rights reserved. This material may not be copied or distributed without permission. For more information about reprints and permissions, visit To order a reprint of this article, click here.