Review Underway For Public Officials’ Police Security Details

CHICAGO (CBS) — A full review of security is underway for our top city leaders.

At issue right now – facing a huge budget crunch, can Chicago still afford $3 million a year for politicians’ bodyguards?

As CBS 2’s Susanna Song reports, for decades, Ald. Edward Burke (14th) has come and gone in a city-owned car driven by Chicago Police bodyguards.

When Burke appeared for a ribbon-cutting ceremony in his ward last week, he came and left with the protection of two officers.

RELATED: Police Offer Daley Security Detail After Term Ends

RELATED: Police Security Details Costing Taxpayers $3 Million A Year

Guarding Burke takes at least four full-time officers off the streets. But the question remains, is it necessary as the city faces a budget crisis and a police shortage.

Burke’s attorney insists he needs the extra security because he has been the target of racially-charged threats.

Mayor Emanuel addressed the question directly last week, when asked about it by CBS 2 Chief Correspondent Jay Levine.

“Here’s the deal, Jay,” he said. “I asked in the transition for (former police Supt.) Terry Hillard to do a review based on security, because I wanted this removed from politics. “They’ve looked at my security. They’re going to look at everybody’s security. They’re going to make that judgment, which is what they were supposed to do, based on safety, not politics.”

Four public officials currently get bodyguards at taxpayer expense. They are – Mayor Rahm Emanuel, retired Mayor Richard M. Daley, Burke, city Treasurer Stephanie Neely. Recently-departed Chicago Housing Authority chief Lewis Jordan also had tax-supported bodyguards until he the mayor took them away.

A Freedom of Information Request by CBS 2 showed 31 officers in total make $2.8 million to protect the officials.

But taking away any of the officials’ security details may be easier said than done. Burke went to court to keep his detail when Mayor Harold Washington tried to take it away back in the 1980s, and he says another court order will be required to take it away.

Jordan refused to give his security detail up before Emanuel took them away, and Neely declined to talk to us last week about the taxpayer-paid perk – complimentary cars, driven by officers police Supt. Garry McCarthy said he could really use on the street.

  • John

    If these people are so afraid, they should quit their public service jobs and join the rest of us who have to go to work daily without bodyguards.

    • NWA

      That would be f-ing golden to see!


  • Citizen of Chicago

    If they are so afraid of the common people QUIT, they all can afford to pay for their own security with all the money the stole and made over the years from the goverment payroll, espacally BURKE!

  • ChicagoCitizen

    With all of the Rahm and Daley haters in this city, the two of them need the security. These haters are so pathetic.

  • Gail Wolf

    What about the everyday citizens on the the street without any protection for self-defense. The ordinary citizen needs the concealed carry law to protect themselves and family. Why should Illinois be the only state where the criminal has free reign on who they can attack without fear of retribution from the ordinary citizen.

    • Mr. Justice

      Great comments Gail

  • tom Sharp

    Isn’t Rahm cute, “…removed form politics…” by appointing Hilliard!!! How did he pass up the obvious choice of Patrick Daley!?

    • g-man

      Patrick Daley makes toooo much money off the city when ever he is involved

  • billyd

    Rahm, yes. Daley, as former Mayor, ok. But these other leeches? Absolutely not. Cancel their security details, immediately.

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