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Who Put The Brakes On Police ATVs?

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The Chicago Police Department has several all-terrain vehicles in storage. (CBS)

The Chicago Police Department has several all-terrain vehicles in storage. (CBS)

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CHICAGO (CBS) — Could Chicago police have a secret weapon to help fight mobs?

Sources tell CBS 2 there are about 20 brand-new police all-terrain vehicles, or ATVs, in storage. So, at a time when mob attacks are happening along the lakefront and downtown, why aren’t officers using them for patrols?

CBS 2’s Suzanne Le Mignot reports.

Sources say that inside a garage behind Area 1 Police Headquarters there are about 20 new police ATVs in storage.  

Officers already use this type of vehicles to patrol the lakefront.

Sources tell CBS 2 the ATVs are fully equipped. They have lights and sirens. But police are still waiting for the state to certify the vehicles to be used on the beach.

Once that happens, the ATVs can be transported to the beach and used on the lakefront.

“That they have some in storage is crazy, considering exactly those flash mobs that are occurring, right over here,” Chicagoan Stephani Casey said.

Some officers may have to be retrained on the vehicles, but the question remains: Why aren’t those vehicles in use to combat crime when mobs are attacking people downtown and the lakefront?

CBS 2 asked the Fraternal Order of Police that question.  Spokesperson Pat Camden responded: “If there are specialized vehicles sitting in a garage not being used, it could be because of the necessary manpower needed to be trained and to operate those vehicles. The bottom line is, the city needs to hire more police.”

There was also a scheduled training session for officers in April. A notice was given to officers who wanted to get training on the new four-wheelers.  But it was cancelled.

Chicago resident Gerald Raap says he’s seen the mobs of young kids on the beach. Raap says more police patrols on ATVs would make a difference.

“Oh definitely,” he said. “It does help and it’s a deterrent like anything else, when they see the cops.”

So what’s the hold up?  CBS 2 called and emailed Chicago Police News Affairs for a comment on this story numerous times Friday. The office eventually responded they were looking into the issue.

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