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City Buys Special Face Shields For Cops At NATO And G8 Summits

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The Chicago Police Department ordered the purchase of about 3,000 new face shields designed to keep fluids off of the faces of police officers during the upcoming NATO and G8 summits. (Credit: Super Seer Corp.)

The Chicago Police Department ordered the purchase of about 3,000 new face shields designed to keep fluids off of the faces of police officers during the upcoming NATO and G8 summits. (Credit: Super Seer Corp.)

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Updated 02/14/12 – 6:19 p.m.

CHICAGO (CBS) — The Chicago Police Department continues to gear up for the NATO and G8 summits in May with enhanced protection for officers likely to confront protesters.

As WBBM Newsradio’s Mike Krauser reports, the Emanuel administration has ordered the purchase of about 3,000 protective face shields for police riot helmets from Colorado-based Super Seer Corp.

The Fraternal Order of Police asked for the added protective gear, based on what has been seen at protests at previous international summits.

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s Mike Krauser reports

“People have been known to throw bags of urine, human feces, and also inflammatories at officers” Chicago FOP President Mike Shield said. “The ones (face shields) that were issued over a decade ago allow for fluids to drip through.”

Shields said the new face shields have rubber insulation to prevent fluids from dripping on an officer’s face. They would also protect against harmful liquid chemicals or acids.

The shields also fit over gas masks that officers might wear during the protests, unlike the face shields now in use.

Shields said the CPD needs to buy more face shields for officers, since the purchase will only provide face shields for about a third of the force.

“We’re disappointed that there are only 3,000 and I’m hoping that this is phase one of purchasing,” Shields said.

Shields also said the city has estimated 1,500 to 10,000 demonstrators could come to Chicago during the summits, “but when asked ‘what if 40,000 people come in?’ they somehow said they’ll be ready for it.”

But the police union is not as confident.

As CBS 2 Chief Correspondent Jay Levine reports, the FOP also has said that police officers are receiving insufficient training for the expected protests. Shields said a single day’s baton training isn’t enough.

Police Supt. Garry McCarthy said officers who will be involved with handling the protests will be getting more training and equipment.

“I’m personally going to be standing with those officers on those days, so I am personally responsible to ensure that they have adequate equipment and adequate training,” McCarthy said Tuesday. “Right now, there’s a lot of misinformation that’s going on out there. I’m going to have to straighten that out internally. I’m not gonna engage in a debate through the press.”

McCarthy, city officials and summit organizers have been playing everything close to the vest when it comes to summit security.

But Shields revealed staffing plans that give a pretty good idea of how many officers are being assigned.

Normally, the Police Department has three 8-hour shifts of officers working each day. During the summits, two of those shifts will work 12 hour days and the third will be devoted solely to summit security, Shields said.

“We’ve been told around 2,500 officers,” will be on that detail, Shields said.

McCarthy also said the new face shields for police helmets weren’t the only new equipment officers would receive.

“There’s all sorts of protective equipment that we’ve purchased, or are in the process of procuring for the officers who are going be on the line,” he said.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel, who has said he speaks to McCarthy every day, was asked how much he’s spent on security equipment for the summits.

“When i talk to him, I’m going over our crime in the city, and whether the strategies we have in are in place. I don’t go over every contract,” Emanuel said.

City officials promised to provide details of all the contracts, then said those details weren’t available yet.

A spokesman for Emanuel also bristled when the contracts were referred to as “no-bid contracts,” preferring to use the term time-limited, as in not enough time to put them out for bid.

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