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Officials In Chicago, Belgium Prepping For NATO Summit

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CHICAGO (CBS) – Chicago police are buying 8,500 more face shields for police helmets in advance of the NATO summit in May.

Like the 3,000 face shields bought by the city earlier this year, the gear is designed to prevent dangerous fluids – such as acids, chemicals or other liquids that might be tossed by protesters – from dripping on an officer’s face.

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

Meantime, a delegation of Chicago public officials, dignitaries and summit host committee representatives are at NATO headquarters in Belgium to tout the city and prepare for the upcoming summit.

The delegation has brought along an exhibit celebrating Chicago’s 175th birthday. Chicago First Lady Amy Rule, who is heading the delegation, will formally open the exhibit on Thursday.

CBS 2 Chief Correspondent Jay Levine met with her Wednesday, and while their conversation was off-the-record, she seemed comfortable and was looking forward to her role in Brussels. It’s her first public appearance representing the city since her husband, Rahm Emanuel, was elected mayor last year.

The exhibit includes a display of Chicago legends and lore, from visionary architect Daniel Burnham to notorious gangster Al Capone, to the two Mayors Daley, and current Mayor Emanuel.

It’s a timeline that evokes a sense of pride in a lifelong Chicagoan, now working at NATO Headquarters.

Allison Hart, the Public Diplomacy Officer for the U.S. and Canada at NATO HQ, said “So many people here at NATO have never been to Chicago, they haven’t gotten to visit. They’d like to and they ask me about it, but this – being able to walk around and say ‘This is what Chicago looks like. This is what you’re going to see,’ tomorrow, when they have the food, ‘This is what you’re going to eat,’ – it’s so exciting.”

Host committee chief Lori Healey said the buzz about Chicago in Brussels is encouraging.

“We’ve built great relationships over the last couple of months, with everybody here. There’s a lot of excitement that’s built up through those personal relationships about coming to the city, and really experiencing the best that Chicago has to offer,” she said.

Chicago was chosen by President Barack Obama, who offered to host the summit 18 months ago.

Ivo Daalder, the U.S. Ambassador to NATO said he feels Chicago is the right place at the right time.

“Once in a while we have an opportunity to celebrate what is great about the United States. One of those things is the city of Chicago,” Daalder said. “Having the opportunity for Chicago come to NATO before NATO comes to Chicago is just great.”

So the stage is set. On Thursday NATO Headquarters becomes Euro-Chicago, with all the sights and sounds and taste that will make a Chicagoan feel right at home, and others want to visit.

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