Top cop: Neighborhoods also will have more police during NATO
BY FRAN SPIELMAN City Hall Reporteremail@example.com May 15, 2012 1:28PM
Police Supt. Garry F. McCarthy | Rich Hein~Sun-Times
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Despite extraordinary police resources devoted to the NATO Summit, Chicago neighborhoods will get a 15 percent increase in police protection this weekend, thanks to 12-hour shifts and the decision to cancel days off, Police Supt. Garry McCarthy said Tuesday.
Normally, Chicago Police officers work three shifts or “tours” of eight-hour shifts. Starting at midnight Friday and continuing through Monday, officers will switch to 12-hour shifts. And nobody will be allowed to take days off.
“That frees up about one-third of the department to deal with the [summit]. This actually results in a 15 percent increase in the number of officers assigned in the neighborhoods,” McCarthy said.
“The same officers who were doing an eight-hour tour are now going to do a 12-hour tour in the same districts they’re working in today. You’ll have the same cops on the same beats in the same neighborhoods. And we’ll have an increase of about 15 percent out in the neighborhoods. … It’s a good program. It’s gonna cost us a little bit of money. But we anticipate we’re gonna be able to maintain our enforcement efforts in the neighborhoods while maintaining safety downtown.”
With 3,100 officers assigned to NATO duty, Fraternal Order of Police President Mike Shields questioned how McCarthy can possibly deliver on his promise to Chicago neighborhoods.
“The [tactical] teams aren’t gonna be in the neighborhoods. Even with the longer tours, I don’t see how there could be a 15 percent increase in the manpower if everybody is going down to NATO. I can’t see how it could happen,” Shields said.
The Chicago Sun-Times reported this week that police officers from Philadelphia, Milwaukee and Charlotte-Mecklenburg, N.C., will assist Chicago Police 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. The Philadelphia contingent will be 68 officers strong. The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department refused to reveal the size of its Chicago contingent.
The out-of-state officers will be of no benefit to neighborhood police districts. They will be confined to the downtown area and work in tandem with veteran Chicago Police officers, officials said Tuesday.
“They’ll be in support roles on the perimeter of areas. Their exact assignment has not been released. But for sure, they will not be in districts,” said Felicia Davis, the mayor’s first deputy chief of staff.
“They’re under the command and control of the Chicago Police Department. They’re not out working alone. They’re working in concert with our officers under our rules and our regulations . . . . They don’t understand our city. They’re going to be paired to support our local law enforcement officers. . . . It’s just good policing. It’s just like if a new police officer goes to a district. He’s paired with a senior officer who understands and knows that district. It’s just like we would do for new cops coming on the street.”
The out-of-state officers will be insured by the same policy that protects Chicago from catastrophic claims. But Davis said that excess liability coverage will be paid for by the NATO Host Committee.
“The mayor’s been clear that taxpayers aren’t on the hook for this,” Davis said.
“We have insurance. We’ve increased our insurance amount. That additional coverage is being paid for by the Host Committee. There are a lot of layers here. . . . Taxpayers aren’t paying for any of this.”